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BOB HIRSHON (host):
Monkeys sound the alarm. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Male putty-nosed monkeys in Nigeria produce one type of alarm call to warn other monkeys that a leopard is approaching:
(SFX: pyow calls)
And another type of call when they see an eagle:
(SFX: hack calls)
This according to comparative psychologists Kate Arnold and Klaus Zuberbühler at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
KLAUS ZUBERBÜHLER (University of St. Andrews):
But then, every so often, the males gave the wrong calls in this series of calls. So he would see an eagle and start hacking – hack hack hack hack, and then suddenly produce pyow pyow, then hack hack hack again.
(SFX: Combination calls)
Every time the male combines the calls in this way, it signals all the monkeys to leave the area. This is the first time non-human primates have been observed to combine different calls to create an entirely new meaning. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.