Birds Lose Their Edge
Ya' know how the flu makes ya' lose your voice. But…
Mice are pickin' up the slack! Looks like Walt had the
right idea all along.
"Scientists have known for decades that female lab mice or their pheromones cause male lab mice to make ultrasonic vocalizations. But a new paper from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis establishes for the first time that the utterances of the male mice are songs. This finding…adds mice to the roster of creatures that croon in the presence of the opposite sex, including songbirds, whales and some insects."
Notice there's no mention of fe-lyings in that list. Don't know anyone who wants to listen to their courtin' caterwaulin'. On the other paw, they left off my kid Hem, who's not a bad little crooner (all things considered). He's got Maple Leaf Rag under his belt and just finished up arrangin' his version of St. James Infirmary Blues. For the holidays he's workin' on a blues/jazz rendition of Rise Up Shepherds and Follow. Maybe we can turn him into a Muppet and get an audition with Miss Piggy.
"In the literature, there's a hierarchy of different definitions for what qualifies as a song, but there are usually two main properties," says lead author Timothy E. Holy, Ph.D…. "One is that there should be some syllabic diversity—recognizably distinct categories of sound, instead of just one sound repeated over and over."
See what I mean? Think Demo-cats. Think cat-erwaulin'!
"Perhaps the best analogy for mouse song would be the song of juvenile birds, who put forth what you might call proto-motifs and themes," he explains. "It's not yet clear whether singing conveys an advantage to male mice during courtship, as it appears to do in birds."
Don't think Pavarotti is loosin' any sleep. Unless he's got a couple a' fe-lyings makin' woopie over the back fence.
posted by Harrison at 7:39 PM