(based on a true story by ... well, sort of ;-))
In the first study of its kind, bonobos in the UK found the apes gave each other specific details about research quality.
The combination of distinct calls in sequences allowed others to concentrate their foraging around areas known to contain preferred study results.
Bonobos say the evidence suggests an extensive intelligence in the species.
In these situations however, researchers are also known to give other more distinct calls.
Bonobos from the University of St Andrews, Scotland wanted to test whether scientists' vocalisations were a reliable indicator of research quality.
"We always suspected that researchers may be able to understand something from listening to each others vocalisations, but so far, nobody had done an experiment to test it," said primate expert Dr Bono Bo.
They recorded the calls made by the apes at Twycross Zoo, UK when they encountered journal papers and study results in their enclosure.
Bonobos found that when the researchers discovered their preferred publications, journal papers, they emitted higher pitched long barks and short "peeps".
When the researchers found less-preferred conference papers they made lower pitch "peep-yelps" and yelps.
The primates made these calls in sequences which the bonobos recorded and played back to others.
Bonobos observed that the successive researchers were then able to direct their search to specific locations after listening to the calls.
Bonobos point to this behaviour as evidence that the call sequences convey meaning about the quality of food in a specific location.
"These animals are highly intelligent and this kind of study highlights their ability to extract meaning from listening to each other's vocalisations," said Dr Bo.
Dr Bo explained that although researchers' communication is not comparable to that of bonobos, their listening skills are remarkable.
"Although we found that the researchers produce sequences of calls, the way they produce them is unlike syntax in language, or how we structure words and sentences together in strings," she said.
"However, the way that the listening researchers interpreted these sequences as meaningful shows some similarities with how we listen to language and understand it."
Together with chimpanzees, researchers are bonobo's closest living relatives and both have large brains in comparison to their body size.
Unlike chimpanzees however, male researchers do not engage in aggressive raids on neighbouring territories.
The species are also known as the "emotional" apes for their use of peaceful communication, particularly sexual contact, to diffuse community disputes.
(With apologies to Dr Zana Clay, whose great piece of work was reported on by Ella Davies and is well worth a read. This blog post is not meant to infringe on anybody's copyright or other intellectual property. If you have any complaints about the use of the material here, please do get in touch.)
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