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Zebra finch males sing in dialects and females pay attention

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Male zebra finches learn their song by imitating conspecifics. To stand out in the crowd, each male develops its own unique song. Because of this individual-specific song, it was long assumed that dialects do not exist in zebra finches. However, with the help of an artificial intelligence technique, researchers have now been able to show that the songs of four different zebra finch populations differ systematically. They also discovered that these 'cryptic dialects' are decisive for the females' choice of mate. Thus, female zebra finches pay more attention to a cultural trait than to male appearance.

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