Multimodal communication and the function of tree shake in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)
For my master thesis, I carry out an observational study on a group of wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco close to the city of Azrou. Barbary macaques are unique considering that they are the only macaque species living outside of Asia and the only non-human primate species living north of the Sahara desert, even living in Europe, with an introduced population in Gibraltar. They have a great capacity to survive in challenging environments, which allows them to live several months per year in the snow. Moreover, male Barbary macaques are memorable for being the only species of Old World monkeys that have special interactions with the infants.
The study of multimodality in primate’s communication is a growing research area which extends knowledge on origins of human language. Most studies of Barbary macaques focus on acoustic communication, but less importance is given to gestural communication. Therefore I considered investigating the combination of vocal and gestural communication in this species. For the research to be exhaustive, I integrated facial expressions, manual gestures and postures in my observations. Among postures, there is the tree shake behaviour on which I conduct my second examination to discern
the different communicatory functions. My project is supervised by Professor Klaus Zuberbühler (UniNE) and co-supervised by Professor Driss Meziane (Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Morocco).
Université de Neuchâtel
Institut de Biologie
Rue Emile-Argand 11