September 18, 2021

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Little bats babble like babies

With training comes mastery. According to ecologists, this also applies to the two-tailed pocket bat that “speaks baby language” as an infant to train its vocal cords.

PrrrrtAnd goe goe, dada dadada – There are only a few months left of the womb when our offspring are already on their way to (voice) interaction. But it’s not just our children who will make these (cute) sounds. in trade magazine Science Ecologists at the Natural History Museum in Berlin write that the newborn babies of some bats also develop their own vocalizations while chattering.

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practice, practice, practice

Using “close words” chatter, infants practice the intricacies of their vocal system, such as the complex movements of the larynx (voice box), as well as the movements of the tongue, lips, and jaws. The goal is to be able to start using real words after several months.

Previous research has shown that a handful of songbirds undergo a similar evolution. However, very little is known about the “chatter” behavior of other mammals. So far. According to German ecologists and bat experts, the young descendant of the two-tailed pocket bat (Scopteryx Belenita) As well.

sonic kites

Named after the two stripes on the back and the “pockets” on the wings, the two-banded pocket bat lives in the trees of Central and South America. These nocturnal animals are famous for their golden throats. Adult males sing to mark their territory before going out at night, as well as to impress females.

One researcher, bat expert Miriam Knornschild, noticed that very young pups of this type of bat make sounds reminiscent of our children’s babbling. So she and her fellow ecologists took a close look at two dozen pups in forests in Panama and Costa Rica between 2015 and 2016.

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chat

After recording and analyzing hundreds of vocal syllables, made up of thousands of “discrete” sounds, the researchers concluded that baby bats begin to chatter when they are two or three weeks old. They stop at weaning, at seven to ten weeks of age.

Researchers have found many similarities between the babbling of humans and bats. The sounds were often repeated in a rhythmic fashion. There is no contact with it. Puppies do not seem to react to the specific sounds. According to the researchers, both suggest that, as with children, it’s all about exercising their vocal organs.

And practice makes perfect; The chatter will become more complex over the weeks, according to ecologists.

Resources: ScienceAnd phys.orgAnd new worldAnd EurekAlert!

Photo: Michael Stifter