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© Clément CORNEC / CRNL / CNRS Images



Chatting in the forest

Some twenty metres above the ground, this female bonobo (Pan paniscus) is sheltering from the rain under the canopy of the Manzano Forest, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the heart of this biotope, a combination of rainforest and savanna woodland, scientists are studying the vocal communications of our closest relatives in their natural environment. Most of the calls produced by bonobos serve to regulate their social interactions and movements, with the aim of making their identities and peaceful intentions known to neighbouring communities. Other vocalisations take place only in small groups and over short distances. The purpose of these more intimate conversations is to maintain friendly relations with social partners.

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