Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bat that sings like a bird is highly tuned to social circumstance

Date:
July 10, 2013
Source:
Florida International University
Summary:
New research shows that Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) vary the way elements are combined in their songs (i.e. syntax) in response to different social contexts, which is exceedingly rare among non-human mammals.

Florida International University (FIU) biologist Kirsten M. Bohn in collaboration with researchers from Texas A&M, recently published a study that shows Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) vary the way elements are combined in their songs (i.e. syntax) in response to different social contexts, which is exceedingly rare among non-human mammals.

Related Articles


The free-tailed bat is a mammal that sings like a bird, producing complex songs following specific organizational rules. Unlike most mammalian vocalizations, free-tailed bat songs are hierarchically structured where syllables are combined to form phrases and phrases are combined to form songs analogous to human speech. Previous research by Bohn and colleagues showed that song syntax varied greatly from one rendition to the next, however the function of syntactical variation remained unknown.

In this study Bohn found that song syntax is directly correlated with social context. Free-tailed bats roost in the millions and have highly variable social environments. Thus, song flexibility may have evolved to meet the demands of a complex and dynamic social environment. Actively modifying vocal syntax in response to social cues is common in songbirds and the basis for songbirds being used as our main model of human speech. As mammals, bats may greatly add to our understanding of the neurobiology of speech production.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida International University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kirsten M. Bohn, Grace C. Smarsh, Michael Smotherman. Social context evokes rapid changes in bat song syntax. Animal Behaviour, 2013; 85 (6): 1485 DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.04.002

Cite This Page:

Florida International University. "Bat that sings like a bird is highly tuned to social circumstance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710102732.htm>.
Florida International University. (2013, July 10). Bat that sings like a bird is highly tuned to social circumstance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710102732.htm
Florida International University. "Bat that sings like a bird is highly tuned to social circumstance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710102732.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins