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Primate of the opera: What soprano singing apes on helium reveal about the human voice
Date:8/22/2012

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Have you ever heard an opera singing ape? Researchers in Japan have discovered that singing gibbons use the same vocal techniques as professional soprano singers. The study, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, explains how recording gibbons singing under the influence of helium gas reveals a physiological similarity to human voices.

The research was led by Dr Takeshi Nishimura from the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University, Japan. His team studied the singing of a white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar) at Fukuchiyama City Zoo, in northern Kyoto.

A gibbon's song is acoustically unique among primates, with a loud melody which can be heard over two miles away. In the wild gibbons use their songs to communicate with neighboring pairs, strangers and potential mates through impenetrable jungle where visibility is poor.

"The complexity of human speech is unique among primates as it requires varied soft sounds made by the rapid movements of vocal tracts,
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Contact: Ben Norman
Sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
44-012-437-70375
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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