Good Rhythm Helps Birds Compete

Subject: Good Rhythm Helps Birds Compete
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 13:16:40 +1100
I saw an Attebrorough doco on a similar subject to this fairly
recently. He was investigating the origins of music and wondering if
there were any connection to the apparently musical noised made by
birds and whales among other things. The thing that stuck out in my
mind was the reported evolution of rhythm and how that could organise
a tribe/troupe of primates and declare a territory.

The best example was a troupe of Howler monkeys I think, where thay
have a very structured rhythm and social system. Each night the troupe
gathers and calls in unison, following a very strict pattern. When it
all comes together the effect is amazing, by singing together they
combine their vocal energy and cover a larger area, sound big and
impressive and presumably scare their competitors away.

I guess then that it's a similar mechanism to the Pee-Wee duets...


On 6/19/07, Andrew Taylor <> wrote:
 Jam sessions in the avian world, rather than drawing a crowd, keep out
 pesky intruders, new research suggests.

 And magpie-lark duets with the most rhythm present a more threatening
 deterrent than those whistling off beat.

 "When partners sing, they signal to other magpie-larks that they are
 working as a team to defend their territory," said co-researcher Michelle
 Hall of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany.

 More at:


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Evan Beaver
Lapstone, Blue Mountains, NSW
lat=-33.77, lon=150.64

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