Oestrous red deer hinds prefer male roars with higher fundamental frequencies

Reby, David, Charlton, Benjamin D, Locatelli, Yann and McComb, Karen (2010) Oestrous red deer hinds prefer male roars with higher fundamental frequencies. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences, 277 (1695). pp. 2747-2753. ISSN 0962-8452

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Across vertebrates, the observation that lower-pitched vocalizations are typically associated with larger and/or higher quality males has lead to the widespread belief that inter- and intra-sexual selection will produce male calls with low fundamental frequencies (F0). Here we investigated the response of oestrous red deer hinds to playback of re-synthesized male roars characterized by either higher than average or lower than average F0. We found that hinds prefer higher rather than lower ‘pitched’ roars, providing, to our knowledge, the first evidence of such a bias in nonhuman mammals. Our findings can be interpreted in relation to previous observations that the minimum F0 of roars is positively correlated with male reproductive success in free-ranging red deer stags, and that across Cervids the F0 of male mating calls shows extreme variability. Females showing preferences for higher-pitched roars might derive genetic benefits through more competitive male offspring. Our results emphasize the need for further investigations of female preferences in mammals in order to better understand the extreme variation of F0 values observed in male sexual calls

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: David Reby
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:43
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2012 10:10
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14091
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