Songbirds’ Elaborate Cries For Food Show First Signs Of Vocal Learning

Friday, July 24, 2009 - 12:14 in Biology & Nature

Only a handful of social animals — songbirds, some marine mammals, some bats and humans — learn to actively style their vocal communications. Babies, for instance, start by babbling, their first chance to experiment with sounds. Now, new research in songbirds shows that vocal experimentation may begin with their earliest vocalizations — food begging calls — and perhaps for a more devious reason than previously believed. The findings could change the way we think about the evolution of vocal learning.

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