Monday, December 6

Baby and human seals would have the same vocal register | Digital Trends Spanish

According to new research published in Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society BSeal pups are “vocally plastic”, which means that they can change the tone of their voice to make themselves understood better, just as most humans do.

The researchers studied eight baby seals from one to three weeks old before being released into the wild.

The team first recorded the noises near the sea to see if the cubs could adapt their voices to the surrounding noises.

During several days the sounds of the sea were reproduced to the pups in three degrees of intensity, but with a pitch similar to that of the calls of the seal pups.

“If seal pups acted like most animals, we would only expect them to increase the intensity of their voices as the noise increased,” explains Andrea Ravignani, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

“What the seals did, however, was lower the pitch of their voices to escape the frequency range of the noise, something that can only be done by animals with good control of their larynx, which includes humans but potentially excludes humans. most mammals ”.

In this way, scientists recognize that pinnipeds (animals such as seals and walruses) are good models for studying vocal learning, as they are closer than other species to humans in terms of evolutionary development and diversification, according to the authors. .

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