Baboons use vowel sounds strikingly similar to humans

The differences between people represented one of the early barriers to the development of animal welfare protection law. For example, it was originally believed that animals didn't have a structured society, language, or the ability to reason in contrast to mankind who were also "made in the likeness of God".

 
But increasingly science has demonstrated that animals and people share many similarities. And thanks to communication technology, the findings of science have been able to be communicated wide and fast to the human population. A greater understanding of the lives of animals has, in turn, promoted the development of animal protections as mankind has discovered, frequently to its surprise, that "they are like us".
 
For decades, scientists thought that most primates could not produce vowels, sounds fundamental to human speech. That’s because nonhumans supposedly lacked the necessary vocal anatomy. But now, researchers report that Guinea baboons, monkeys that inhabit the forests and savanna of West Africa, make five vowellike sounds similar to those used by humans. The findings bolster a recent study showing that Japanese macaques are also anatomically capable of speech. 
 
Scientists recorded 1404 vocalizations of 15 Guinea baboons (Papio papio) living at a primate center in France. The baboons’ vocal repertoire included grunts, barks, copulation calls (made only by females), distress calls known as yaks, and wahoos, long-distance contact calls most often made by males.
 
A recent analysis of the calls revealed something the other research had not: that the baboons produced at least five distinct sounds that correspond to vowels in the International Phonetic Alphabet. That’s enough to put them on par with many human languages, most of which have three to five vowels. Further, the baboons regularly combined two vowels in rapid succession into a single call: “Wahoo!” which, according to the scientists, means they have “some kind of system for combining and using the sounds,”