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Department of Comparative Language Science Comparative Communication and Cognition Group


Current projects


Combinatoriality in the vocal systems of primates (chimpanzees, bonobos, mountain gorillas, marmosets), non-primate mammals (dwarf mongooses) and birds (chestnut-crowned babblers, pied babblers and Western magpies): production and perception.

--> In collaboration with Prof. Klaus Zuberbuhler, Prof. Martin Surbeck, Dr Martha Robbins, Prof. Andy Russell, Prof. Amanda Ridley, Prof. Andy Radford and Prof. Judith Burkart.

Ape pragmatics: the role of context and extra-linguistic cues on meaning disambiguation in wild chimpanzee vocalisations

--> NCCR funded project in collaboration with Prof. Sabine Stoll and Dr James Henderson

Vocal ontogeny in wild bonobos and the influence of the surrounding social environment 

--> NCCR-funded project in collaboration with Prof. Sabine Stoll, Prof. Klaus Zuberbuhler & Prof. Carel van Schaik

Vocal coordination of cooperative behaviour in wild chimpanzees

--> In collaboration with Prof. Katie Slocombe & Prof. Zarin Machanda

Ontogeny of combinatorial vocalisations in chestnut-crowned babblers

--> In collaboration with Prof. Andy Russell 

Mechanisms underlying vocal production in wild bonobos

--> In collaboration with Dr Isaac Schamberg and Prof. Martin Surbeck 

Weiterführende Informationen



09/19: New paper @PNAS by Engesser, Townsend and colleagues. Chestnut-crowned babbler calls are composed of meaningless shared building blocks