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FEATURE ARTICLE

Vocal Matching in Animals

Imitating the calls of group members and mates is a reliable signal of social bonds in some animal species

Kendra Sewall

2012-07SewallF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageFrom birds to whales, animals that match companions’ vocalizations reap social benefits that ultimately increase their survival and reproduction. But why is vocal matching a reliable signal of social affiliation? The process of learning to imitate companions ensures that matched vocalizations are honest signals of affiliation in species ranging from birds and bats to dolphins and whales.


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