Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Study Shows Monkeys Like To Keep Chatter Short

monkey chatJust like people, monkeys like to keep it brief when it comes to communication, according to a new study.

In human language, more frequently used words tend to be shorter in length - a phenomenon known as the "law of brevity".

Now researchers have found that the vocal communication of another primate species - the Formosan macaque of Taiwan - also obeys this law.

This highlights intriguing new similarities between our own communication and that of our monkey cousins, researchers believe.

Dr Stuart Semple, of Roehampton University, and his colleagues describe this discovery in a paper in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters.

The Formosan macaque they studied has a vocabulary of 35 different calls.

The researchers found that the everyday chatter consisted of the shortest of these calls, while only very rarely did the longest calls get an airing.

In monkey chatter, it would seem that short is certainly sweet.

Full story here.

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