Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mice sing love songs?

Here is an article that talks about scientists at Washington University who have discovered that male mice have a birdlike "song" that they think might be used to woo the opposite sex.
"It soon became ... apparent that these vocalizations were not random twitterings but songs," said researcher Timothy Holy. "There was a pattern to them. They sounded a lot like bird songs."...Holy and co-author Zhongsheng Guo were studying the brain response in male mice to chemical signals emitted by female mice. The mice sounds were not audible without technical amplification. Initially, researchers recorded the sounds with a microphone, stored them in a computer and converted them to an image. Later, they developed a way to hear the sounds by recording them on tape and reconstructing them four octaves lower. Holy said the mice sounds met two key criteria for song — distinct syllables and recurring themes, "like the melodic hook in a catchy tune."

To listen four of the mice "songs" they recorded, press the play button below.


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