Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mice sing to impress the girls, scientists find - - - University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and World Science staff

Male house mice pro­duce me­lo­di­ous songs to at­tract mates, not un­like many birds, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

The dit­ties are too high-pitched for hu­man hear­ing, but sci­en­tists at Vi­en­na's Un­ivers­ity of Vet­er­i­nary Med­i­cine an­a­lyzed them and found they con­vey in­forma­t­ion about ident­ity and kin­ship. The find­ings are pub­lished in the jour­nal Phys­i­ol­o­gy & Be­hav­ior and in the Jour­nal of Ethol­o­gy.
“It seems as though house mice might pro­vide a new mod­el or­gan­ism for the study of song in an­i­mals,” said Dus­tin Penn of the uni­vers­ity, one of the co-authors of the work. “Who would have thought that?”

Sci­en­tists knew house mice make sounds dur­ing court­ship, but as­sumed they were just squeaks, ac­cord­ing to the group. In real­ity, they said, they are complex and show char­ac­ter­is­tics of song: dur­ing slowed-down play­backs, a simillar­ity to bird song be­comes strik­ing. Read more


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