Navigation Links
Banded mongooses structure monosyllabic sounds in a similar way to humans
Date:1/10/2013

This press release is available in German.

Animals are more eloquent than previously assumed. Even the monosyllabic call of the banded mongoose is structured and thus comparable with the vowel and consonant system of human speech. Behavioral biologists from the University of Zurich have thus become the first to demonstrate that animals communicate with even smaller sound units than syllables.

When humans speak, they structure individual syllables with the aid of vowels and consonants. Due to their anatomy, animals can only produce a limited number of distinguishable sounds and calls. Complex animal sound expressions such as whale and bird songs are formed because smaller sound units so-called "syllables" or "phonocodes" are repeatedly combined into new arrangements. However, it was previously assumed that monosyllabic sound expressions such as contact or alarm calls do not have any combinational structures. Behavioral biologist Marta Manser and her doctoral student David Jansen from the University of Zurich have now proved that the monosyllabic calls of banded mongooses are structured and contain different information. They thus demonstrate for the first time that animals also have a sound expression structure that bears a certain similarity to the vowel and consonant system of human speech.

Single syllable provides information on the identity and activity of the caller

The research was conducted on wild banded mongooses at a research station in Uganda. For their study, the scientists used a combination of detailed behavior observations, recordings of calls and acoustic analyses of contact calls. Such a call lasts for between 50 and 150 milliseconds and can be construed as a single 'syllable'. Jansen and his colleagues now reveal that, despite their brevity, the monosyllabic calls of banded mongooses exhibit several temporally segregated vocal signatures. They suspected that these were important so studied the individual calls for evidence of individuality and behavior. "The initial sound of the call provides information on the identity of the animal calling," explains Jansen. The second more tonal part of the call, which is similar to a vowel, however, indicates the caller's current activity.

Structured single syllables in animals not an exception?

Manser and her team are thus the first to demonstrate that animals also structure single syllables much like vowels and consonants in human speech. The researchers are convinced that the banded mongoose is not the only animal species that is able to structure syllables. They assume that the phenomenon was overlooked in scientific studies thus far. For instance, they point out that frogs and bats also structure single syllables. "The example of banded mongooses shows that so-called simple animal sound expressions might be far more complex than was previously thought possible."


'/>"/>

Contact: Marta Manser
marta.manser@ieu.uzh.ch
41-446-355-282
University of Zurich
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Studies reveal structure of EV71, a virus causing childhood illnesses
2. Crystal structure of archael chromatin clarified in new study
3. Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
4. Autism risk gene linked to differences in brain structure
5. Expedition to undersea mountain yields new information about sub-seafloor structure
6. Mechanical properties and microstructure of cranial and beak bones of the woodpecker and the lark
7. Psychiatric medication effects on brain structure
8. CSHL researchers solve structure of human protein critical for silencing genes
9. Study provides new insights into structure of heart muscle fibers
10. Detector of DNA damage: Structure of a repair factor revealed
11. Structure of RNAi complex now crystal clear
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Banded mongooses structure monosyllabic sounds in a similar way to humans
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... the health IT company that operates the largest health ... today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross BlueShield ... investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create the ... activities through the collection and workflow integration of ambient ... secures data today on behalf of over 36 million ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative ... ... Maldives Immigration ... Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... and WASHINGTON, DC, USA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... of the economy as well as an enabler of life-saving medical and other vital ... optics and photonics . They joined others in the scientific community today in responding ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... ... A recent survey conducted by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) ... categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while common lambsquarters ranks as the weed ... in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by WSSA. A 2015 baseline survey ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... A new Technology ... Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on quantum devices, graphene electronic ... Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting in North America, will ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent communities of bacteria that are encased ... food poisoning and catheter infections to gum disease and the rejection of medical implants. ... dollars per year, there is currently a paucity of means for preventing their formation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: