Singing mice and human conversation

❝ In the understory of Central American cloud forests, musical mice trill songs to one another. Now a study of the charismatic creatures reveals how their brains orchestrate these rapid-fire duets.

The results…show that the brains of singing mice split up the musical work. One brain system directs the patterns of notes that make up songs, while another coordinates duets with another mouse, which are carried out with split-second precision.

❝ The study suggests that “a quirky animal from the cloud forest of Costa Rica could give us a brand new insight,” into the rapid give-and-take in people’s conversations, says study coauthor Michael Long, a neuroscientist at New York University’s School of Medicine.

The video sound in the article doesn’t always work. Sorry.

2 thoughts on “Singing mice and human conversation

  1. p/s says:

    Song of male Alston’s singing mouse (S. teguina). Filmed at 100 frames per second and played back at 30 frames per second (IE: in slow motion). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNRVqL7pe4A
    “Although males of both the Alston’s singing mouse (Scotinomys teguina) and Chiriqui singing mouse (S. xerampelinus) sing to attract mates and repel rivals within their respective species, the findings show for the first time that communication is being used to create geographic boundaries between species.
    Most people are puzzled by the existence of singing mice, but in reality many rodents produce complex vocalizations, including mice, rats and even pet hamsters,” said Bret Pasch, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Integrative Biology and lead author on the paper, which was published online in The American Naturalist. “Often they’re high-pitched and above the range of human hearing.”
    Both singing mouse species produce vocalizations that are barely audible to humans. Alston’s singing mice are smaller and more submissive than Chiriqui singing mice, and they have longer, higher-pitched songs than their larger cousins.
    “Songs consist of a set of rapidly repeated notes, called trills,” said Pasch. “Notes are produced each time an animal opens and closes its tiny mouth, roughly 15 times per second.” https://phys.org/news/2013-09-mice-turf-high-pitched-tunes.html

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