Pant-hoot (call)

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The pant-hoot is one of the best known and studied of the vocalizations of chimpanzees. This call begins with breathy, low-pitched hoots that makes a transition into a series of quicker, higher-pitched in-and-out pants. Finally the pant-hoot builds to a loud climax.

This loud vocalization is used by chimpanzees at apparently any opportunity where they feel it is appropriate to express their excitement. Chimpanzees pant-hoot in a variety of different circumstances and situations, such as arriving at fruit trees, when joining and greeting other members of their community, and when traveling. They often listen to distant pant-hoots made by other chimps and respond to them. These sounds may serve as identification, but they occur in such a wide variety of circumstances and with enough subtle variations that they may carry other meanings as well.

Both male and female chimpanzees make the pant-hoot call. High-ranking adult males pant-hoot most frequently. The females sometimes produce pant-hoots on their own and often join in a chorus of pant-hoots when others around are calling. The males' and females' pant-hoots sound different, and it is even possible for humans (with a little practice) to distinguish between the calls of two different chimpanzee individuals. Pant-hoot styles vary among different populations of chimps.