• Chimps display their signature drum beats

    Wild Chimpanzees have their own "signature drumming style," according to researchers.

    Researchers who studied and followed Chimps in the Ugandan rainforest discovered that the animals send messages to each other on the tree's roots.

    The researchers say that the signature rhythms enable them to transmit information across vast distances, showing who is in the area and what they're doing.

    The results have been presented the findings in The journal Animal Behaviour.

    Professor Catherine Hobaiter from the University of St Andrews explained that wild apes utilize massive tree roots to create an immense wooden surface on which to beat with their feet and hands.

    "If you hit the roots really hard, it resonates and makes this big deep, booming sound that travels through the forest," she explained to the BBC's Radio 4's Inside Science program.

    "We could often recognise who was drumming when we heard them; it was a fantastic way to find the different chimpanzees we were looking for. So if we could do it, we were sure they could too."

    The male chimps, as the researchers discovered, have the same pattern of beats. They mix it in between vocalizations that are long distance, known as pant-hoots. Animals are able to drum at different times in their calls.

    The lead researcher for this study is doctoral student Vesta Eleuteri of the University of Vienna. The University of Vienna described the ways that some people are more rhythmic such as blues and rock drummers, while others have more erratic rhythms, such as jazz.

    "I was surprised that I was able to recognise who was drumming after just a few weeks in the forest," she explained. "But their drumming rhythms are so distinctive that it's easy to pick up on them."

    Ms. Eleuteri outlined a young male chimp that researchers have identified as Tristan in the form of "the John Bonham (late Led Zeppelin drummer) of the forest."

    "He makes these very long drumming bouts with lots of beats and you can tell them from far away, so you can just tell it's Tristan drumming."

    The animals also appeared to follow their own rhythm while traveling. Researchers speculate that chimps decide the best time to reveal their identity to others.

    "If you're showing off to a group around you - if you're displaying - you might not necessarily want the big alpha male who's around the corner to know who you are," explained Dr. Hobaiter. "You don't want to give the game away."

    She said that understanding the chimps using drums in this manner could resolve a long-standing communication problem. Wild chimps greet one the moment they meet. However, they don't appear to "say goodbye" when they separate in the woods.

    "The chimps might not need to say goodbye, because they're effectively able to keep in touch while they're away," Dr. Hobaiter explained.

    "These long distance signals give the chimps a way to check in with one another. That might help us to understand one of these things that we thought was a real difference between chimps and humans, and help us to understand why that difference might have come about."

    Updated on 1:24-am September 10,2022

    Tags: Chimpanzees, Wildlife, Animals, Uganda