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High plasticity in marmoset monkey vocal development from infancy to adulthood

Citation

Hage, Steffen; Gultekin, Yasemin; Hammerschmidt, Kurt; Hildebrand, David (2021), High plasticity in marmoset monkey vocal development from infancy to adulthood, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5tb2rbp3r

Abstract

The vocal behavior of human infants undergoes dramatic changes across their first year, while becoming increasingly speech-like. Surprisingly, vocal development in nonhuman primates has been assumed to be largely predetermined and completed within the first postnatal months. Contradicting this assumption, we found a dichotomy between the development of call features and vocal sequences in marmoset monkeys suggestive of a role for experience. While changes in call features were related to physical maturation, sequences of and transitions between calls remained flexible until adulthood. As in humans, marmoset vocal behavior developed in stages correlated with motor and social development stages. These findings are evidence for a prolonged phase of plasticity during marmoset vocal development, a crucial primate evolutionary preadaptation for the emergence of vocal learning and speech.

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: EXC 307

Leon Levy Foundation