Nav: Home

Meerkat call patterns are linked to sex, social status and reproductive season

May 03, 2017

Within a group of meerkats, call patterns vary with factors including sex, rank and reproductive season -- but not with stress hormones, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jelena Mausbach from University of Zurich, Switzerland; Marta Manser from University of Pretoria, South Africa; and colleagues.

Meerkats live in family groups with social hierarchies, emitting contact calls that help maintain group cohesion during foraging. These calls are distinctive and have variable rates across individuals, but the influences on this behavior are unknown. To identify factors linked to call patterns, Mausbach, Manser and colleagues analyzed sound recordings and measured fecal stress hormones of 64 meerkats from 9 groups in the wild.

The researchers found that call patterns vary with factors such as sex, social status, and reproductive season, suggesting that meerkat calls within a family group provide listeners with cues about the producers. For example, call rates were higher in dominant females and one-year-old males than in other individuals, and were up to five times more frequent during the reproductive season than during the non-reproductive season. However, call patterns were not linked to stress hormones, and the researchers speculate that this may reflect the fact that the calls studied were emitted during the relaxed context of foraging.
-end-
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0175371

Citation: Mausbach J, Braga Goncalves I, Heistermann M, Ganswindt A, Manser MB (2017) Meerkat close calling patterns are linked to sex, social category, season and wind, but not fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0175371. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175371

Funding: This study was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation(grant no. 31003A_13676 to Marta B. Manser. The long term field site KMP was financed by Cambridge University, Zurich University and Earthwatch. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Social Status Articles:

Social status of listener alters our voice
People tend to change the pitch of their voice depending on who they are talking to, and how dominant they feel, a study by the University of Stirling has found.
Is there an association between socioeconomic status in childhood and the heart?
Socioeconomic inequalities are a public health challenge in cardiovascular disease and a new study published by JAMA Pediatrics examined the association of childhood family socioeconomic status in youth on measures of left ventricular mass and diastolic function 31 years later in adulthood.
Status epilepticus: An overview
Seizures can be divided into three major groups: focal, generalised and unknown.
Meerkat call patterns are linked to sex, social status and reproductive season
Within a group of meerkats, call patterns vary with factors including sex, rank and reproductive season -- but not with stress hormones, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jelena Mausbach from University of Zurich, Switzerland; Marta Manser from University of Pretoria, South Africa; and colleagues.
Hormone-influenced social strategies shape human social hierarchy, study shows
In a game of chicken, the most aggressive players are fueled by testosterone and are more willing to harm others; and while it may be easy to demonize such hawkish behaviors, psychology researchers from The University of Texas at Austin say there is sound evolutionary reason for their existence.
Most remaining smokers in US have low socioeconomic status
After decades of declining US smoking rates overall, most remaining smokers have low income, no college education, no health insurance or a disability.
Lack of leisure: Is busyness the new status symbol?
Long gone are the days when a life of material excess and endless leisure time signified prestige.
Are social networking sites good platforms for providing social support?
A critical review of 10 years of research on social support via social networking sites led to the identification of current trends and the development of recommendations to guide future research.
Movin' on up? Views on social mobility shape Americans' faith in the status quo
Psychologists at Princeton University and Memorial University of Newfoundland have found that how Americans view social mobility affects their willingness to defend the basic underpinnings of American society -- such as social and economic policies, laws, and institutions.
Multi-social millennials more likely depressed than social(media)ly conservative peers
Compared with the total time spent on social media, use of multiple platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health found in a national survey.

Related Social Status Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#532 A Class Conversation
This week we take a look at the sociology of class. What factors create and impact class? How do we try and study it? How does class play out differently in different countries like the US and the UK? How does it impact the political system? We talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book "The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged", about class and its impacts on people and our systems.