An intentional cohesion call in male chimpanzees of Budongo Forest

Abstract

Many social animals travel in cohesive groups but some species, including chimpanzees, form flexible fission–fusion systems where individuals have some control over group cohesion and proximity to others. Here, we explored how male chimpanzees of the Sonso community of Budongo Forest, Uganda, use communication signals during resting, a context where the likelihood of group fission is high due to forthcoming travel. We focused on a context-specific vocalisation, the ‘rest hoo’, to investigate its function and determine whether it is produced intentionally. We found that this call was typically given towards the end of typical silent resting bouts, i.e., the period when individuals need to decide whether to continue travelling after a brief stop-over or to start a prolonged resting bout. Subjects rested longer after producing ‘rest hoos’ and their resting time increased with the number of calls produced. They also rested longer if their calls were answered. Furthermore, focal subjects’ resting time was prolonged after hearing others’ ‘rest hoos’. Subjects called more when with top proximity partners and in small parties and rested longer if a top proximity partner called. We also found an interaction effect between rank and grooming activity, with high-ranking males with a high grooming index calling less frequently than other males, suggesting that vocal communication may serve as a cohesion strategy alternative to tactile-based bonding. We discuss these different patterns and conclude that chimpanzee ‘rest hoos’ meet key criteria for intentional signalling. We suggest that ‘rest hoos’ are produced to prolong resting bouts with desired partners, which may function to increase social cohesion.

Bold and bright: shy and supple? The effect of habitat type on personality–cognition covariance in the Aegean wall lizard (Podarcis erhardii)

Abstract

Animals exhibit considerable and consistent among-individual variation in cognitive abilities, even within a population. Recent studies have attempted to address this variation using insights from the field of animal personality. Generally, it is predicted that animals with “faster” personalities (bolder, explorative, and neophilic) should exhibit faster but less flexible learning. However, the empirical evidence for a link between cognitive style and personality is mixed. One possible reason for such conflicting results may be that personality–cognition covariance changes along ecological conditions, a hypothesis that has rarely been investigated so far. In this study, we tested the effect of habitat complexity on multiple aspects of animal personality and cognition, and how this influenced their relationship, in five populations of the Aegean wall lizard (Podarcis erhardii). Overall, lizards from both habitat types did not differ in average levels of personality or cognition, with the exception that lizards from more complex habitats performed better on a spatial learning task. Nevertheless, we found an intricate interplay between ecology, cognition, and personality, as behavioral associations were often habitat- but also year-dependent. In general, behavioral covariance was either independent of habitat, or found exclusively in the simple, open environments. Our results highlight that valuable insights may be gained by taking ecological variation into account while studying the link between personality and cognition.