Ontogeny of vocal rhythms in harbor seal pups: an exploratory study

Andrea Ravignani*, Christopher T. Kello, Koen de Reus, Sonja A. Kotz, Simone Dalla Bella, Margarita Mendez-Arostegui, Beatriz Rapado-Tamarit, Ana Rubio-Garcia, Bart de Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Puppyhood is a very active social and vocal period in a harbor seal's life Phoca vitulina. An important feature of vocalizations is their temporal and rhythmic structure, and understanding vocal timing and rhythms in harbor seals is critical to a cross-species hypothesis in evolutionary neuroscience that links vocal learning, rhythm perception, and synchronization. This study utilized analytical techniques that may best capture rhythmic structure in pup vocalizations with the goal of examining whether (1) harbor seal pups show rhythmic structure in their calls and (2) rhythms evolve over time. Calls of 3 wild-born seal pups were recorded daily over the course of 1-3 weeks; 3 temporal features were analyzed using 3 complementary techniques. We identified temporal and rhythmic structure in pup calls across different time windows. The calls of harbor seal pups exhibit some degree of temporal and rhythmic organization, which evolves over puppyhood and resembles that of other species' interactive communication. We suggest next steps for investigating call structure in harbor seal pups and propose comparative hypotheses to test in other pinniped species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Zoology
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • bioacoustics
  • pinnipeds
  • rhythm
  • timing
  • vocal development
  • PHOCA-VITULINA
  • ELEPHANT SEALS
  • UNIT-ROOT
  • VOCALIZATIONS
  • UNDERWATER
  • VOICE
  • CALLS
  • RECOGNITION
  • PATTERNS
  • INFANT

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