The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #1641339
Posted By: Amos
04-Jan-06 - 06:04 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
I always suspected this, but in case you ever meet a chicken singing a quail-song, here's the explanation you will need:

"Chickens with bits of quail brain transplanted into their head sing a different tune, a Canadian researcher found while mapping neural circuits to identify which cause specific behaviors.

The findings could help scientists better understand human language acquisition and development, as well as lead to new treatments for brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease, said Evan Balaban, a behavioral neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal.

"We made a chicken sound like a quail, proving that the way the birds vocalize is not affected by learning," Balaban said. "They are born with a song in their head."

Over the past 12 years, he and colleagues in the United States swapped brain cells from quail and chicken embryos to see the effects on the particular characteristics of each bird.

When they hatched, the chickens looked normal, except for a few dark quail feathers sprouting from their heads, but sang two introductory notes followed by the long trill of a quail song instead of a cock-a-doodle-doo.

Computers were used to analyze the acoustics but the different sounds were recognizable just by listening.

In the past, researchers believed birds learned their songs from their parents or their brethren. But, studies have shown they are born already hardwired with a tune in mind.

I dunno about "in mind" but it is interesting to see that the birds' vocabulary is entrained at a cellular level.