Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Honest Lovers? Fallow Buck Groans Reveal Their Status And Size During The Rut

Date:
September 6, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have show for the first time that sexually selected vocalizations can signal social dominance in mammals other than primates, and reveal that the independent acoustic components -- fundamental frequency (pitch) and formant frequencies -- encode information on dominance status and body size, respectively.

Fallow bucks groaning.
Credit: Trenton Garner

It is known that the phonic structure of calls produced by males during the breeding season may signal quality-related characteristics in many different types of animals. Previous research on mammals has mainly focused on the relationship between the acoustic components of vocalizations and one aspect of male quality: body size.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have shown for the first time that sexually selected vocalizations can signal social dominance in mammals other than primates, and reveal that the independent acoustic components – fundamental frequency (pitch) and formant frequencies – encode information on dominance status and body size, respectively. Fundamental frequency is a measure of the rate of vibration of the vocal folds. Formant frequencies result from filtering of vocalizations in the vocal tract.

In fallow deer, larger males have higher social status and are preferentially chosen by females for mating. Males vocalize only during the breeding season at potentially extremely high rates of up to 90 per minute, and the call they produce is known as a groan.

The current study found that higher-ranking males produced groans with lower minimum fundamental frequencies and to a lesser extent, with lower formant dispersion (an overall measure of formant frequencies). Larger males also produced groans with lower formant frequencies and lower formant dispersion. Dominance status was the factor most strongly related to mating success, with higher-ranking males having higher mating success. The acoustic parameters are probably indirectly related to male mating success through dominance status. Similarly in humans, men with lower fundamental frequency (pitch) voices are perceived as more dominant and have higher reproductive success due to greater access to mates.

The researchers said, "Fundamental frequency and formant frequencies may therefore represent acoustic cues to male quality that have mainly evolved in response to male-male competition. Other aspects of male vocal behaviour, such as the long-term investment in vocal display, are also likely to influence female mate choice in fallow deer."

This study advances our understanding of the possible evolutionary mechanisms underlying the extraordinary diversity of male deer vocalizations, and in general the structure and functioning of vocal communication in mammals.

Sound clip: http://www.plos.org/press/pone-03-09-vannoni.wav


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vannoni et al. Low Frequency Groans Indicate Larger and More Dominant Fallow Deer (Dama dama) Males. PLoS ONE, 2008; 3 (9): e3113 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003113

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Honest Lovers? Fallow Buck Groans Reveal Their Status And Size During The Rut." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080902221814.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, September 6). Honest Lovers? Fallow Buck Groans Reveal Their Status And Size During The Rut. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080902221814.htm
Public Library of Science. "Honest Lovers? Fallow Buck Groans Reveal Their Status And Size During The Rut." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080902221814.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins