Each chimpanzee has their own unique drumming style, which they sometimes don’t use on purpose

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Each male chimpanzee has a unique drumming technique that they use to send messages to each other over great distances. Research shows that sometimes they intentionally play something unremarkable.

Researchers from the University of St Andrews dived into the Budongo Forest in Uganda and recorded the drumming skills of several monkeys. They analyzed the sound extensively and saw from the patterns that each animal had a unique recognizable style. Some of the grooves were angled like rock and other monkeys seemed to prefer jazz with a lot of variety.

What they also heard was that chimpanzees did not always use their own technique. It was used especially when they were on the road and there was a distance between the members of their group. Sometimes there was drumming, but it was a more general style. Something that can be useful, for example, if you are in a hostile area and do not want to reveal your identity but want to tell us where you are. So it seems that animals really do choose whether or not to use their own unique rhythm.

In the follow-up research, the researchers want to look at the same thing, but in other chimpanzee communities. Also in places where there are no suitable trees to dig. They already have ideas on how to fix that. Maybe by hitting rocks. Like real rock.

Read more here: Chimpanzee drum beats send messages on social media through the jungle. The paper can be found here: The form and function of chimpanzee drumming.

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Megan Vasquez

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