Do some animals sing like humans do? Is singing a function or just for fun? Do some animals sing like humans do? Is singing a function or just for fun?

Do some animals sing like humans do? Is singing a function or just for fun?

Do some animals sing like humans do? Is singing a function or just for fun?

Two creatures gently sing to each other, exchanging a series of tweets and tweets. If you close your eyes and listen, you may think you are hearing two birds. But it is not.

In fact, they're a pair of a certain type of rat found in the cloud forests of Central America, tiny rodents called singing "alston" mice (Scotinomys teguina), and they communicate with their mates by singing excitedly.

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The voices of these mice are mostly outside the audible range of humans, but the researchers revealed their beautiful "symphonies" by recording their voices at a frequency we can hear. This refutes the common assumption that only songbirds, other than humans, sing.

Animals sing to each other more than we humans might expect or know. But what species do that? And does she sing just to find mates to mate and mark their territory or maybe just to have fun too?

"To answer these questions, we first need to understand the difference between song and other sounds for animals," says Emma Press, author of Live Science, "A few researchers define a song as a series of tones, which may repeat over a period of time into something It's like what we call a melody."

"All songs are sounds, but not all sounds are songs," Harvard University biology professor Brian Farrell, who devotes part of his research to studying animal sounds, told Live Science. By this definition, a dog's barking, or a frog's croaking, is not necessarily singing.

He adds that the song involves a degree of composition resulting from the ability to improvise. Interestingly, animals that can sing often learned this from their parents, as they are not born with this ability. Farrell believes that this flexible learning supports the ability to improvise.

Here are some types of animals that have amazing singing abilities:

Mexican bat flirting with future wife
The Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) tries to attract the attention of females during the mating season with a high pitched tone, which humans need to pick up using special acoustic equipment to be able to hear.

After the male bat manages to attract the interest of a potential mate, things get even more interesting, as he quickly develops his simple song to combine a variety of sequences, to keep the female intrigued long enough to start mating. According to a 2013 study published in the journal Animal Behavior, bats can quickly rearrange these sequences to work out what a female likes.

"Gibbon" opera singer
The gibbon challenges humans by being one of the finest singers in the primate world. Of course not all gibbons sing, but those that do sing produce complex tones that typically overlap for a long time, and make loud screams with shorter bursts of sound, using the vocal mechanisms that researchers have discovered are common among opera singers as well.

Their musical compositions also depend on context, as researchers discovered that the alerts for predators used by some species of gibbon have a unique arrangement of sounds that are not heard in normal calls, in addition to that the gibbon is also known for singing duets, which experts believe helps to Strengthening social cohesion and demarcation of its own area.

However, these primates are not the only animals that enjoy singing. Alston mice also sing in duets, and they do so very gently, and their songs can contain nearly a hundred notes.

Studies show that an animal that sings will never interrupt another animal's songs, as each mouse pauses for a split second until its mate finishes, and then starts its own song. Neuroscientists are trying to figure out the neural basis for this pause ability, to see what it might tell us about the evolutionary roots of conversations between humans, which may also be turn-based.

Hum of whales
Of course, no talk of singing would be complete without mentioning the haunting tunes of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). In the 1970s, American biologist Roger Payne captured the public's imagination when he made the first recordings of whale songs, and distributed them widely.

Farrell says the lively whale songs made such an impact that they are credited with spurring the momentum against whaling during the 1970s, which eventually led to a near-global moratorium.

The lively whale songs have made such an impact that they are credited with the momentum against (European) whaling.

Payne's recordings also showed, for the first time, that whales' murmurs consisted of distinct, repetitive shapes. "Paine was really the first person to discover that these 20-minute whale sounds are actually compositions," Farrell says.

Since then, researchers have discovered that whales have unique songs that can be used to identify them, and that other whale species, including killer whales (Orcinus orca), belugas and white whales (Delphinapterus leucas), also sing.

Why do animals sing? Do you enjoy singing?
In addition to competing for land, pairs and food, Farrell says, animals with the same vocal space have to "compete for bandwidth" to be heard.

It turns out that singing has the advantages of transmitting over long distances, and the ability to carry a lot of information in its long sequence. This is useful when animals use it to demarcate territory, alert others to predators, or attract a companion with remarkable acoustic feats, such as the free-tailed bat.

Other than these job roles, do any animals sing just for fun?
There are no clear and quick answers to this question, Farrell says, we know that animals play and have emotional lives. And "these two things exist and there is a lot of research on them." There is also mounting evidence that animals have an emotional response to music.

For example, researchers studied the effect of Mozart's compositions on mice, which can hear the highest frequency tones of music, and found that music lowers blood pressure in mice, and listening to music is generally associated with feelings of calm.

But can we conclude from this that animals sing just for fun? Farrell tends to believe that there is an emotional component to animal songs, but this is beyond our current research capacity to confirm, but thinking about the playful gibbons, the sympathetic chatter of a singing mouse, and the soulful melody of a whale, it's hard to believe that there is no emotion and joy woven into animal songs. This is a mystery that must be discovered another day.
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