Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pyow Pyow Hack Hack Hack - That's Monkey For "Let's Get The Hell Out Of Here"

Male monkeys talk in sentences, scientists have just revealed. And the most common phrase they use is a loud, five-part call that basically means "let's get the hell out of here". The scientists from the University of St Andrews, spent many months observing the putty-nosed monkeys in Nigeria. They discovered that both the males and females of the group used the distinctive sounds "pyow" and "hack" in a variety of situations. But in times of particular danger the males used a five-part combination of the sounds - "pyow pyow hack hack hack". The monkeys used it most often when instructing their group members to run away from the threat of their most dangerous predator, the leopard. But intriguingly they also used the phrase when they wanted their fellow monkeys to head off in search of food or to find somewhere to sleep in the evenings. The scientists concluded the phrase is a multi-purpose one, used by the male leaders to move the group to safer or more food-rich territory. Their full conclusions were reported in Nature

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