Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

Date:
April 15, 2014
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Scientists report that ring-tailed lemurs respond more strongly to the scents and sounds of female lemurs when the scent they smell and the voice they hear belong to the same female -- even when she's nowhere in sight. Linking a particular female's call with her unique aroma gives the lemurs a way to figure out if she is nearby, since the scents tend to linger.

A lemur rubbing on a sweetgum's trunk leaving a unique trace of scent.
Credit: Ipek Kulahci, Princeton University

Humans aren't alone in their ability to match a voice to a face -- animals such as dogs, horses, crows and monkeys are able to recognize familiar individuals this way too, a growing body of research shows.

Now a study has found that some animals also can match a voice to a scent.

Researchers at Princeton and Duke report that ring-tailed lemurs respond more strongly to the scents and sounds of female lemurs when the scent they smell and the voice they hear belong to the same female -- even when she's nowhere in sight.

The researchers say that lemurs are able to learn a particular female's call along with her unique aroma and link them together into a single picture of that individual.

The study appears online April 16 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Cat-sized primates from the African island of Madagascar, ring-tailed lemurs howl, wail, moan and chirp to each other to stick together as they forage in the forest. They also produce an impressive variety of scents. Their genital secretions alone contain hundreds of odor molecules that help the animals tell one individual from another.

In a series of experiments, researchers presented pairwise combinations of calls and scents from familiar females to 15 ring-tailed lemurs in outdoor enclosures at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina.

When a lemur entered the enclosure, the researchers played a call from a familiar female over a hidden loudspeaker, and then presented the animal with scent secretions from either the same female, or a different female from the same social group.

The hidden speaker was positioned between two wooden rods -- one swabbed with a female's scent and the other 'unscented' -- so that the sounds and the scents came from the same location.

In general, the lemurs paid more attention to the sounds and smells in the matched trials in which the call they heard and the scent they smelled came from the same female, than in the mismatched trials when they heard one female and smelled another.

Both males and females spent more time sniffing and/or marking the scented rods in the matched trials than in the mismatched trials. Males also spent more time looking in the direction of a female's call when her scent was present instead of another female's scent.

The results held up whether the sounds and odors came from a dominant female or a subordinate one.

The ability to tell if the voice they hear corresponds to the scent they smell may help a lemur figure out if the animal producing the scent is still nearby, said Princeton graduate student and coauthor Ipek Kulahci.

Unlike shrieks, yips and wails, odors can linger long after the animal that made them has left the area.

This may explain why lemurs showed more interest in the matched cues than the mismatched cues, Kulahci added.

"If they detect a whiff of a familiar female and she's still within earshot she can't be far."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kulahci, I.G., et al. Individual recognition through olfactory - auditory matching in lemurs. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B, 2014

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203815.htm>.
Duke University. (2014, April 15). Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203815.htm
Duke University. "Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415203815.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
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