In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.
The story goes on to mention anecdotal evidence that other species of South American feline do the same thing:
The observations confirmed what until now had been only anecdotal reports from Amazonian inhabitants of wild cat species — including jaguars and pumas — actually mimicking primates, agoutis, and other species in order to draw them within striking range.
I swiftness sprang into action and using my most powerful research skills (Google rules!) tracked down the story in Neotropical Primates (pages 34-36). There the heinous details of the attack were laid out in all their Lovecraftian glory:
On October 12, 2005, at 9:13 am, a group of eight pied tamarins monitored by telemetry was feeding in a Moraceae
(Ficus sp.). A large vine at 15 meters height connected the surrounding trees to the fig tree. At 9:18 am, a margay attracted the attention of a tamarin sentinel (Gordo et al.,2005) by producing calls similar to those emitted by pied tamarin pups. The adult male sentinel climbed up and down the tree to investigate the calls coming from behind the liana tangles. It assumed a surveillance position and, using specific calls, warned the group about the foreign calls. At 9:22 am we observed movements in the vine and keep hearing the call imitations. At 9:29 am three pied tamarin individuals were feeding on Ficus sp. while the tamarin sentinel was keeping surveillance. At 9:40 am, four pied tamarins climbed up and down the Moraceae in response to the repeated aggressive calls from the tamarin sentinel. At that moment, was observed a cat with small body but big feet, huge eyes and a long tail walking down the trunk of a tree (like a squirrel); it quickly jumped to a liana that was connected to the fig tree and moved toward where the tamarins were feeding, about 15 meters away. At this moment, the sentinel emitted a high scream as the predator approached the group; and the group fled immediately.
Fortunately, the intended victims of this mindlessly depraved attack escaped unharmed. The next time who knows? There will be a next time:
Curiously, all the potential prey (agoutis, macucos, and nambus) cited by the Amazonian inhabitants produce extremely acute vocalizations, which possibly match the potential repertoire of felines. In addition, all the aforementioned potential prey species use vocalizations in intra-specific territorial demarcation. This increases the cats’ chance of success in attracting prey by imitation.
This brings me to LOLcats. As you know LOLcats have the spelling, punctuation and grammer skills of your average tea
bagger, er, partier. Now reread that soul numbing paragraph above. “Curiously, all the potential prey…produce extremely acute vocalizations…all the aforementioned potential prey species use vocalizations in intra-specific territorial demarcation…This increases the cat’s chance of success in attracting prey…”
Extreme action is called for and there is only one man who can save us. That-s right I am forwarding all this information to Glen Beck (O-L-I-G-A-R-k-i-t-t-e-h).
As for me, LOLcats are out. In the future I plan on following the zany antics of those wacky dogs at I Can Has Hotdog. At least they have never bit unsuspecting primates in the head. In the meantime, should some seedy looking character try to foist off LOLcats on you, get their name and send it to Glen Beck. America as we know it needs your help!
Update !: Further proof LOLcats are after our brains:
They are trying to dumb us down by stealing all our books! Is there no end to their perfidy?