A team of researchers at the University of Georgia has found evidence that shows apes can recognize different voices and sort them based on pleasant and unpleasant memories. It is common for species to recognize the voice of their own species. However, only some species have the ability to recognize the voice of other species, like humans. It turns out that gorillas can make out the differences in the voices of other species, as per UGA Today. To carve out a well-researched study, captive apes at the Atlanta Zoo were played three distinct audio recordings. The first set was recordings of people that the apes were familiar and had a positive relationship with. These included the keepers who were taking care of the gorillas for four years or more. The second was of those with whom the gorillas had unpleasant memories, i.e., veterinary staff and maintenance workers. The last set was of voices from unfamiliar and unknown people. All the recordings said the same thing, “Good Morning, Hello,” the phrase they use while greeting gorillas.
“One of the first things we noticed was something that also happens in the wild. If there was any sound that seemed unfamiliar and threatening, they used to stop what they were doing and focus their attention on the voice. It is something we do too,” said Roberta Salmi, the lead author of the study, in a press release.
Researchers found that gorillas responded positively to the voices they recognized. However, if they came across an unfamiliar voice, the gorillas responded with a sign of distress, including increased vigilance and vocalizations.
“If wild gorillas are able to distinguish and have different reactions to humans, according to whether they are hunters or researchers, it would be extremely helpful. I can sleep better to know that researchers are not making gorillas more vulnerable to hunters,” Salmi said.
The study found clear differences between gorillas’ reactions to voices associated with positive and negative interactions. Although, researchers couldn’t clear out if gorillas considered unfamiliar voices as much a threat as veterinary staff and maintenance workers.
Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Telegram.