If you stay at Khao Yai National Park overnight, you’ll know that tents and bungalows come with a complementary alarm clock – screeching Gibbons!
What may be an incomprehensible racket of howling and hooting to sleepy park visitors is actually one of the most complicated animal communications in nature.
Researchers have only recently become aware of how Gibbon calls can function as detailed warnings of danger, not just romantic serenades.
Scientists from as far away as Scotland and Germany have come to Khao Yai to study the musical calls of these tree dwelling apes, discovering that Gibbons switch the order of sounds to alter the meaning of their songs.
Gibbon calls echo through the Khao Yai forest
Gibbon songs vary so dramatically, their range was compared to that between ‘gangsta rap’ and ‘sappy pop’ music by MSNBC journalist Jasmin Aline Persch in her article Low-profile singers of the animal world.
Khao Yai is home to two species of gibbon, the White-handed or Lar gibbon and the rarer Pileated Gibbon. In a small area these two species even hybridize naturally, one of only three such gibbon hybridization zones in the world.