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Japanese deer 'eavesdrop' on monkeys for food

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Headlined to H4 6/25/12

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Sika deer 'eavesdrop' on monkey chatter in order to find food, say scientists. A team from Kyoto University, Japan, tested how macaque monkey calls affected the feeding behaviour of the deer that live on Yakushima Island. Previous research has focussed on species 'listening to' one another to avoid danger. But when scientists played macaque calls from hidden speakers, the deer gathered nearby, indicating that they associate the sounds with benefits. The results were published in the journal Behavioural Processes. Dr Hiroki Koda who led the study said it was a good example of 'possible interspecies communication' and that the deer seemed to be eavesdropping as a 'foraging strategy'... The island, which includes the ancient and famous Yakusugi Forest, is home to 1,900 species and subspecies of fauna. The deer and macaques that live there feed on the fruit of camphor trees.

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