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Scientists may be a step closer to understanding the origins of human language.
Two studies suggest that the ability to combine sounds and words to alter meaning may be rooted in a species of monkey.
A team found the Campbell's monkey can add a simple sound to its alarm calls to create new ones and then combine them to convey even more information.
The researchers discovered that the monkeys made several distinct alarm cries, among them calls described as "boom", "krak" and "hok".
The team found that booms were sounded when a falling branch had been spotted or to initiate group
Professor Zuberbuehler said: "Sometimes the monkey can give 10, 15 or even 20 calls, and typically different types of calls can appear in these sequences... So we tried to understand what particular context would trigger these sequences."