赤ちゃんアザラシは、人間とは珍しい発声能力を共有しています, 研究は見つけます

Besides being an adorable and important part of marine ecosystems, アザラシは異常な能力を持っているかもしれません. 彼らはよりよく理解するために彼らの声のピッチを変えることができます, 人間のように, 新しい研究が見つかりました.

A person or animal using this trait is being what’s calledvocally plastic,” or adjusting their vocal signals in response to environmental changes that overlap or cover up their voices, による 研究 published Monday in the journal Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B. Being able to clearly and accurately communicate is important for mating opportunities, escaping from predators and social learning, 著者は書いた.
The researchers had a number of reasons for wanting to test the vocal chops of baby harbor seals. The rare ability to imitate new soundsvocal learninghad been seen previously among adult harbor seals and a few other mammal species, 著者によると. And very few mammals have the capacity to change their vocal pitch to sound higher or lower, which is critical for human communication.
    The harbor seal pups in the study were from a seal rehabilitation center that releases its animals back into the wild.

    By looking at one of the few other mammals who may be capable of learning sounds, we can better understand how we, humans, acquire speech, and ultimately why we are such chatty animals,” said Andrea Ravignani, the study’s senior investigator and a research group leader in the comparative bioacoustics department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, に 声明.
      Pinnipedsanimals such as seals and walruses that belong to the order Pinnipediaare great models for vocal learning since they’re closer than other species to humans in terms of evolutionary development and diversification, 著者は書いた.
        After recording wind sounds and other ambient noises on a sandbank in the Wadden Sealocated among Denmark, Germany and the Netherlandsthe researchers used computer software to filter the recorded audio to a frequency that would overlap with the formant range of seal pupsmother attraction calls. “Formantis a characteristic component of the quality of a speech sound.
        The authors then tested eight wild-born, healthy and unrelated harbor seals that were between 1 そして 3 weeks old and from the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre in the Netherlands. This center ultimately releases seals back into the wild.
          Adult harbor seals can weigh up to 285 ポンド (以上 129 キログラム) and grow up to 6 足 (1.8 メートル) long.

          As the seals heard a speaker play a 45-minute recording consisting of high noise, low noise or no playback over several days, they spontaneously called out. When the pups heard louder sea noises, they lowered their vocal pitch. During more intense noise levels, the pups used a steadier pitchand one seal raised its voice. This behavior, called the Lombard effect, is typical for human speech when people talk louder to be more understandable, the authors said.
          The seals might have lowered their pitch since lower-frequency sounds travel farther in windy environments like the one projected by the recorded audio, said Caroline Casey, a research scientist and adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Institute of Marine Sciences and ocean sciences department. Casey independently peer-reviewed the study but wasn’t involved in the research.
          “または (the lower pitch) could help retain the pupsidentities since the fundamental frequency is a characteristic that’s strongly related to the identity and size of that pup,” 彼女は付け加えた. In this context, fundamental frequency describes an animal’s vocal frequency range dependent on the speed, size and use of its vocal cords.
          Harbor seals have a lifespan of about 25 に 30 年.

          The findings showed thatseal pups have a more advanced control over their vocalisations than assumed up until now,” Ravignani said in a statement. “This control seems to be already present at only (A) few weeks of age. This is astonishing, as few other mammals seem capable of that.
          以前は, humans were thought to be the only mammals with direct neural connections between the cortexthe outer layer of the brainand the larynx, which we use to produce vocal tone, 彼が追加した. “These results show that seals may be the most promising species to find these direct connections, and unravel the mystery of speech.
          In studying which neural networks or social conditions need to be in place for language to evolve, birds have been the best animals to compare ourselves to, Casey said. That’s because during studies on environment and vocal learning or plasticity, birdsunlike most mammalscan be raised in captivity and naturally mature faster due to their short lifespans.
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          “しかしながら, there’s a lot of differences, especially with respect to sociology and life history between humans and birds,” 彼女は付け加えた. “We’re always looking for mammals that would be good models for the study of vocal learning.
            There haven’t been many studies on how plastic young animalscalls can be. と “most studies, especially in the wild, you don’t actually know the age or sex sometimes of the animals that you’re recording, so it’s very difficult to get high-quality recordings of animals from different age classes,” Casey added. “Being able to look at that in this really young age group is very unique.
            Future research, 著者は書いた, could further explore what other factors might be important for harbor sealsvocal plasticity.

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