Titi monkey-talk has just been deciphered, with researchers now comparing the communication of these small primates to those of humans. The study, published in the latest issue of Biology Letters, notes that titi alarm calls specify the type of predator, such as caracara (predatory bird) or oncilla (mammalian hunter). The calls also mention where the predator is located, such as in flight or stalking on the ground.
The calls are emitted in an orderly sequence, similar to how humans construct sentences. Lead author Cristiane Casar of the University of St. Andrews and her colleagues report it’s “the first demonstration of a sequence-based alarm call system in a non-human animal that has the capacity to encode both location and type of predatory threat.”