10.16.2012

Tiny Tuesday! Harmonizing mice.

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After reading the headline, were you expecting to hear about an all-mouse barbershop quartet? Sadly, that's not what you'll find here, but I have some interesting news, nonetheless. Scientists have recently discovered that mice can harmonize and learn songs. Mouse songs, unlike human songs, sound kinda like an ultra-sonic trill (like in the video above), emitted by male mice out to get laid. Yup.

From io9:
"Previously, the prevailing assumption was that the ultrasonic songs that male mice use in courtship were innate, and that the rodents were not capable of adjusting their sounds through social cues. The researchers found that male mice housed together would gradually learn to match pitch with each other. They also discovered that when the mice sing, their motor cortex region is active and projects directly to brainstem vocal motor neurons — a level of complexity never before guessed."

The original journal article was published on PLoS One.  Neat, neat neat. 

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