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The song of silence


PhysOrg

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Like humans learning to speak, juvenile birds learn to sing by mimicking vocalizations of adults of the same species during development. Juvenile birds preferentially learn the song of their own species, even in noisy environments with a variety of different birdsongs. But how they can recognize their species' song has, until now, remained a mystery. In a collaborative study, neuroscientists and a physicist at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have uncovered an innate mechanism for species identification based on the silent gaps between birdsong syllables.

 

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