Chimpanese use drum solos to communicate who and where they are

Biologists from the university of York, have been studying chimpanzee in the forest in Uganda. They have discovered that Male chimps use unique drum solos to communicate as the chimps are moving through the jungle. Just like djembe players, each chimp was shown to have it’s own trademark phrases that it repeats regularly, that are distinct from those of other chimps. The scientists were able to identify certain chimps by their phrases.

The chimps do this by beating tree roots with their feet. The lead psychologist behind the trial, Dr Katie Slocombe, who ran this study believes that it may provide some insight into the evolution of rhythm in humans. It does show that rhythmical ability isn’t unique to humans, and could perhaps indicate some possible cause of the why drumming may have started with our presumed common ancestors.

What is music but communication anyway, and without rhythm there can be no music anyway. Rhythm is the starting point, the basis and even to this day, the structure on which music is built. So I’m not too surprised, neither to discover music being used to communicate, nor that the scientists are surprised about this :)

Indeed none of this is news anyway, Chris Cunningham and Aphex twin showed us what monkeys can do with a drum kit years ago 😉

If you’re interested in reading more about these studies you can find more information here, and even deeper reading here.

What’s your take on this? Does it provoke any interesting thoughts or opinions?

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Author: James

James loves music, especially Djembe drum music. He has been studying traditional djembe drumming since 2004. Nearly all his free time goes into developing djembefola.com.

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