Supplementary material from "Coevolution of social and communicative complexity in lemurs"

Posted on 23.06.2022 - 08:01
The endemic lemurs of Madagascar (Lemuriformes: Primates) exhibit great social and communicative diversity. Given their independent evolutionary history, lemurs provide an excellent opportunity to identify fundamental principles in the coevolution of social and communicative traits. We conducted comparative phylogenetic analyses to examine patterns of interspecific variation among measures of social complexity and repertoire sizes in the vocal, olfactory and visual modality, while controlling for environmental factors such as habitat and number of sympatric species. We also examined potential trade-offs in signal evolution as well as coevolution between body mass or brain size and communicative complexity. Repertoire sizes in the vocal, olfactory and visual modality correlated positively with group size, but not with environmental factors. Evolutionary changes in social complexity presumably antedated corresponding changes in communicative complexity. There was no trade-off in the evolution of signals in different modalities and neither body mass nor brain size correlated with any repertoire size. Hence, communicative complexity coevolved with social complexity across different modalities; possibly to service social relationships flexibly and effectively in pair- and group-living species. Our analyses shed light on the requirements and adaptive possibilities in the coevolution of core elements of social organization and social structure in a basal primate lineage.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cognition, communication and social bonds in primates’.


Fichtel, Claudia; Kappeler, Peter M. (2022): Supplementary material from "Coevolution of social and communicative complexity in lemurs". The Royal Society. Collection.
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