Adwait Deshpande

Domaines de recherche

Human language is mainly socially learned, by observing and interacting with others; and considered as a highly cooperative and flexible behaviour. On the other hand, vocalisations of our closest living relatives—the non-human primates— are traditionally described as innate and inflexible. Nevertheless, recent studies suggest that signal production in some non-human primate species is much more flexible and cognitively complex than previously thought; highlighting the need to investigate mechanisms underlying the acquisition of vocal signals in our evolutionary neighbours.
For my PhD, I intend to explore the role of social learning in the acquisition of vocalisations in non-human primates. Specifically, this project aims to look for an evidence of social learning in vocal repertoire of Vervet monkeys Chlorocebus pygerythrus by analyzing the minute acoustic variations within each call type. It will also attempt to answer an important question; how sound-meaning linkages are established in this species? Furthermore, it will examine ontogenetic effects on the learning of vocalizations by sampling individuals of different age classes. I will use both natural observations and field experiments, coupled with advanced acoustic analysis and statistical modeling to investigate these questions.
This project is supervised by Prof. Klaus Zuberbühler and the fieldwork will take place at the Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa.
In addition to animal communication and evolution of human language, I have diverse research interests which include the evolution of sociality and social cognition, socio-ecology, behavioural syndromes or animal personalities, behavioural traditions and cultural evolution in animals. Furthermore, I am also interested in the application of studies on animal behaviour to issues in wildlife management and conservation. Previously, I have worked on intentional and referential communication in wild Bonnet macaques Macaca radiata in Bandipur national park, India.



Deshpande, Adwait, Shreejata Gupta, and Anindya Sinha. "Intentional communication between wild bonnet macaques and humans." Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 5147.

Adwait Deshpande