Songbirds’ elaborate cries for food show first signs of vocal learning

Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 16:49 in Biology & Nature

How a handful of social animals ever learned to actively style their vocal communication is a question that has dogged biologists for generations. New research in chipping sparrows suggests that the talent originally appeared in these songbirds as a competition for food among siblings and later evolved into vocal imitation used in territorial defense and courtship.

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