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Baby bats babble like humans

2021-8-21 16:34| 发布者: hujian| 查看: 18| 评论: 0

摘要: Scientists who systematically eavesdropped on bat roosts in Costa Rica have discovered baby-bat babbling bears a striking resemblance to that of human infants.The bats produce rhythmic sounds and repe ...


Scientists who systematically eavesdropped on bat roosts in Costa Rica have discovered baby-bat babbling bears a striking resemblance to that of human infants.

The bats produce rhythmic sounds and repeat key "building-block syllables".

And this suggests - just like in human infants - their babbling lays the foundations for communication.

"They just babble away, sunrise to sunset, practising their sounds," lead researcher Dr Ahana Fernandez said.

Dr Fernandez, based at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, studied a particularly vocal species - the greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata.

"These bats actually sing like songbirds," she said.

"So they have very sophisticated vocal communication - a repertoire of distinct syllable types."

Dr Fernandez and her colleagues, who published their findings in the journal Science, analysed recordings of the bat pups babbling in their roosts.

Characteristic features included:

  • the repetition of key syllables adults use in their songs.
  • rhythmicity and repetition, very similar to the "da-da-da" sounds of human babies
Dr Fernandez recording babbling of wild Saccopteryx bilineata pups in their day-roost in Costa RicaIMAGE SOURCEMICHAEL STIFTER
image captionDr Fernandez recording babbling of wild Saccopteryx bilineata pups in their day-roost, in Costa Rica

Human speech requires very precise control over the vocal apparatus.

Babbling in infants and toddlers is vital practice in gaining that control.

And, the researchers said, the same was true of bats.


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