Nav: Home

Genetic influence in juvenile songbird babblings

August 17, 2016

As human language and birdsong are both acquired through vocal practice, different patterns emerge among individuals. These distinctions play an important role in communication and identification. Until now, however, it was unclear how individual birds learned slightly different vocal patterns.

The research team uncovered variances in the earliest practice singing--known as "subsong"--of zebra finch juveniles, including different temporal patterns between individuals. Furthermore, these differences were found to be more pronounced among different families. Experiments also showed that differences persisted among the juvenile birds even when deafened.

In addition, in experiments involving adoptive parents, the subsong of juveniles was unaffected by the singing of their adoptive guardians, indicating that vocal differences may be due to a combination of the biological parents' genes. These results show there are differences in the utterances of young birds while in the first stages of learning to vocalize, and suggest a hereditary cause for these variances.

The team is planning future studies, to discern, for example, how individual differences formed during the early developmental period affect subsequent learning, and whether there are vocal patterns and tempi that are easy to learn.
-end-


Hokkaido University

Related Learning Articles:

Learning with light: New system allows optical 'deep learning'
A team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere has come up with a new approach to complex computations, using light instead of electricity.
Mount Sinai study reveals how learning in the present shapes future learning
The prefrontal cortex shapes memory formation by modulating hippocampal encoding.
Better learning through zinc?
Zinc is a vital micronutrient involved in many cellular processes: For example, in learning and memory processes, it plays a role that is not yet understood.
Deep learning and stock trading
A study undertaken by researchers at the School of Business and Economics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has shown that computer programs that algorithms based on artificial intelligence are able to make profitable investment decisions.
Learning makes animals intelligent
The fact that animals can use tools, have self-control and certain expectations of life can be explained with the help of a new learning model for animal behavior.
More Learning News and Learning Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...