Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Singing mice

Holy and Guo have an article (2005) in the latest PLOS Biology demonstrating that male mice sing to female mice. The sounds are considered song because they "includ[e] several syllable types organized into phrases and motifs." Sadly, the singing is in the ultrasonic range, so humans can't hear it, but the journal article includes slowed down (or pitch-shifted) versions of the songs that humans can hear (see the supporting information section).

The article also includes some background on mouse vocalizations, including the observation that "pups produce [ultrasonic] 'isolation calls' when cold or when removed from the nest". This, of course, makes these guys seem even cuter:

A handful of 10 day old mouse babies
10-day-old baby mice, hopefully not vocalizing that they're cold or lonely.

They've even got a table of the most common mouse syllables; maybe Semantic Compositions can help me learn to speak mouse-ish.

Holy TE, Guo Z. 2005. Ultrasonic Songs of Male Mice. PLoS Biol 3(12): e386 (full-text; synopsis; press-release)

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