Nav: Home

Monkeys can also thank their body for vocal development, not only their brain

October 15, 2019

Normally we think about the brain as an all-controlling organ that guides the development of all bodily organs and functions. But according to the authors of a new paper in Nature Communications, this is not solely the case.

"There is a growing realization amongst neuroscientists that you cannot ignore the body. The body is capable of locally solving problems without the use of brain power", says biologist Coen Elemans, associate professor, University of Southern Denmark.

Together with Professor of Neuroscience Asif A. Ghazanfar and his team at Princeton University, he studied vocal communication in marmoset monkeys. Their study can be found here

Infant marmosets and humans

Like human infants, marmoset infants spontaneously call in sequences that include both immature and mature vocalizations. However, over the course of a few months during their maturation, infant vocalizations change from mostly immature-sounding low pitched contact calls to high-pitched and loud mature contact calls.

"Previously we thought the brain was responsible for this developmental shift. In this study we show that this is not the case", Elemans says.

The team studied sound production in the larynx of infant and adult marmosets using high-speed cameras.

From chest to falsetto register in humans

"We show that the infant marmoset larynx undergoes changes in the biomechanical properties that causes changes in how the vocal folds in the larynx vibrate. At low frequencies the vocal folds vibrate, but at high frequencies instead thin membranes on top start to vibrate."

This shift is comparable to the change observed from chest to falsetto register in human singers. In marmoset monkeys the shift from low to high pitch, loud calls also guides the changes in marmoset vocal behavior changes.

- "What we see here, is the body making a local solution", says Elemans.

Takes a load off the brain

According to the researchers, local body solutions make sense, because they save energy:
  • It takes a load off the brain and significantly simplifies motor control. It reduces the computational load, and thus energy consumption, of the developing brain.
-end-
Coen Elemans is an expert in bioacoustics and has studied sound production in animals like frogs, birds and whales.

https://portal.findresearcher.sdu.dk/da/persons/coen

University of Southern Denmark

Related Brain Articles:

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.
BRAIN Initiative tool may transform how scientists study brain structure and function
Researchers have developed a high-tech support system that can keep a large mammalian brain from rapidly decomposing in the hours after death, enabling study of certain molecular and cellular functions.
Wiring diagram of the brain provides a clearer picture of brain scan data
In a study published today in the journal BRAIN, neuroscientists led by Michael D.
Blue Brain Project releases first-ever digital 3D brain cell atlas
The Blue Brain Cell Atlas is like ''going from hand-drawn maps to Google Earth'' -- providing previously unavailable information on major cell types, numbers and positions in all 737 brain regions.
Landmark study reveals no benefit to costly and risky brain cooling after brain injury
A landmark study, led by Monash University researchers, has definitively found that the practice of cooling the body and brain in patients who have recently received a severe traumatic brain injury, has no impact on the patient's long-term outcome.
Brain cells called astrocytes have unexpected role in brain 'plasticity'
Researchers from the Salk Institute have shown that astrocytes -- long-overlooked supportive cells in the brain -- help to enable the brain's plasticity, a new role for astrocytes that was not previously known.
Largest brain study of 62,454 scans identifies drivers of brain aging
In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists from Amen Clinics (Costa Mesa, CA), Google, John's Hopkins University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Francisco evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging.
Is whole-brain radiation still best for brain metastases from small-cell lung cancer?
University of Colorado Cancer Center study compares outcomes of 5,752 small-cell lung cancer patients who received whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with those of 200 patients who received stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), finding that the median overall survival was actually longer with SRS (10.8 months with SRS versus 7.1 months with WBRT).
Atlas of brain blood vessels provides fresh clues to brain diseases
Even though diseases of the brain vasculature are some of the most common causes of death in the West, knowledge of these blood vessels is limited.
More Brain News and Brain Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.