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Evolution of Communicative FlexibilityComplexity, Creativity, and Adaptability in Human and Animal Communication$
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D. Kimbrough Oller and Ulrike Griebel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262151214

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262151214.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

Vocal Learning in Mammals with Special Emphasis on Pinnipeds

Vocal Learning in Mammals with Special Emphasis on Pinnipeds

(p.41) 3 Vocal Learning in Mammals with Special Emphasis on Pinnipeds
Evolution of Communicative Flexibility

Ronald J. Schusterman

The MIT Press

This chapter offers remarkable evidence of vocal flexibility in pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), species whose learning capabilities are surprising indeed, and discusses published experiments and new observations on their vocal usage and production learning capabilities. It shows that some pinnipeds can learn to alter the contexts in which they emit natural vocalizations, as well as modify their call structure along several structural dimensions, to an extent not known to occur in most terrestrial mammals. The chapter suggests that pinnipeds do have some degree of voluntary control over their sound emissions and reveals that the walrus observations exhibit plasticity in sound production in a particularly vocal species with a strong potential for complex communicative interactions during development.

Keywords:   vocal flexibility, seals, sea lions, walruses, vocal usage, learning capabilities, natural vocalizations, plasticity, sound production

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