Nature 464, 1106 (22 April 2010) | doi:10.1038/4641106d
Cultural evolution: High fidelity
Biol. Lett. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0165 (2010)
In Darwin's finches, males learn to sing from their fathers. Song
types can persist from one generation to the next, but for how long?
Eben Goodale and Jeffrey Podos at the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, compared song recordings from medium ground finches (Geospiza
fortis) on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos made in 1961 and 1999.
They found that, despite copy errors and other modifications, several
song types persisted over almost four decades with remarkable
fidelity. Certain parameters, such as trill rate, number of notes and
song duration remained unchanged.
Male offspring that fail to reliably copy their father's song might be
less successful at mating, the researchers suggest.
XIAO, Jianqiang, Ph.D.
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