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Squeaky chimp sex, or not

Chimps change their sounds depending on the eavesdropper

By
6:58pm, June 17, 2008

When a chimp has sex in the forest, will she make a sound?

Depends in part on who’s listening, literally, says a scientist who has spent months recording chimp sex sounds in the wild.

With lots of other females within earshot, a female chimp typically doesn’t give a call, says Simon Townsend of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. With a largely male audience, though, she’s more likely to give what primatologists call copulation squeaks or screams.

And partners matter. Even if she is not fertile, she’s more likely to vocalize when she’s with a high-ranking male than with

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