A new approach to identify mammals good at learning sounds

Why are some animals good at learning sounds? Did this skill appear when animals started "faking" their body size by lowering calls? In a new study on a wide range of mammals, Andrea Ravignani from the Max Planck Institute ...

How birds, mammals and children learn sounds

Some songbirds learn to sing by listening to other birds. Some other animals can learn to copy sounds. But what does that tell us about human speech? Sonja Vernes from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen ...

Duck species can imitate sounds

That a parrot can copycat sounds is nothing new. But vocal learning is not common in animals. Researcher Carel ten Cate of the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) of Leiden University has now discovered a duck species that ...

Guinea baboons grunt with an accent

Musical masterworks such as the Queen of the Night's Aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute, are examples of the sounds trained human voices can produce. The precondition for vocal virtuosity as well as for any spoken word is ...

Bats can use 'vocal learning' to change their tune

Humans learn to speak by mimicking speech sounds. Are there other mammals who can learn sounds by imitation? In an experimental study, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and the Ludwig ...

Song-learning neurons identified in songbirds

A group of brain cells, the corticobasal ganglia projecting neurons, are important for vocal learning in young birds, but not in adult birds, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy ...

Teaching wild birds to sing a new tune

Like toddlers learning to speak, young birds learn to sing by listening to the voices of adults. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 4 have shown for the first time that they could teach young sparrows ...

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