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Bioacoustics articles in Science (July)

Subject: Bioacoustics articles in Science (July)
From: "Alfred A. Aburto Jr." <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 12:06:05 -0700
Origins of Vertebrate Vocalization*

Vocalizations that impart social and environmental information are
common to a variety of vertebrates other than humans, including birds,
frogs, and even fish. Did the neural structures for soundmaking among
this broad group of animals arise from a single common ancestor? In a
Report in the 18 Jul 2008 /Science/, Bass et al.
addressed this question by examining the organization of neural
circuitry underlying vocalization in larval Batrachoidid fish
(midshipman and toadfish), the adults of which use hum, grunt, and buzz
noises to attract mates and to stake out territory (see the related
by D. Malakoff). The team discovered that a set of rhythmically firing
motor neurons control the fish’s vocal muscles and the pitch and
duration of its calls and that these neurons grow at the base of the
hindbrain and the upper part of the spinal cord. Moreover, this vocal
circuitry is remarkably similar in location and function to brain
structures found in other vertebrates that vocalize, including birds,
amphibians, and mammals, suggesting that the neural basis of
vocalization originated in a common ancestor of modern vertebrates. An
accompanying Perspective
by D. Margoliash and M.E. Hale discussed the findings.

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