Scientists have come one step closer to understanding how birds create their songs. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Rebecca Williams explains:
Scientists have come one step closer to understanding how birds
create their songs. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Rebecca
That’s a cooing ring dove. And this is a recording of special muscles
the dove’s using to control its song: (sound of muscle activity).
Those muscles are called aerobic superfast muscles. It’s a type of
muscle that has been found in rattlesnakes and some fish. The
muscles were just discovered in birds for the first time.
The research was published in the journal Nature. Coen
Elemans is the lead researcher. He says a unique quality of the dove’s
song led him to investigate it further.
“And we found that some of these doves have a trill in their song, they
make a sound something like (mimics dove song). And during this
short trill, you get elements that are so short, sometimes ten or nine
milliseconds, that I was wondering, how can this be done? This is so
fast that normal locomotory muscles you find in vertebrates cannot do the job.”
Elemans says this discovery could be just the beginning. He says
songbirds have more complex vocal systems than doves… so
songbirds could be using even faster muscles.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Rebecca Williams.