Babbler Birds Communicate Like Humans

Posted: Jul 1 2015, 6:27am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Babbler Birds Communicate Like Humans
Credit: Jodie Crane via Science Daily
  • New study suggests birds can communicate and how language evolved in humans!

A study conducted on the Chestnut-crowned blabber indicates birds can communicate with each other using sounds as a language.

A newly published article suggests birds can communicate in a similar way to humans. A study was conducted on the chestnut-crowned babbler bird from Australia, which showed they can communicate with each other. The birds communicate through sounds and combine different sounds to convey different meanings. Such a mode of communication had never before been seen in the animal kingdom. 

The study published in the journal PLOS Biology claims the findings can also help in determining how languages evolved in humans. The research was carried out by Dr Simon Townsend, from the University of Zurich and Dr. Andy Russell from the University of Exeter, who claims it is the first time evidence of communication to such a high degree has been found outside of humans. Russell also stated animals can use meaningless sounds in different arrangements to come up with their own meanings and suggests other animals can do it too.

The study found the Blabber birds combined two sounds termed A and B by the researchers to express certain behaviour. In flight the Blabber birds uttered ‘A-B’ to reveal their whereabouts, while feeding their young ones they used the sound ‘B-A-B’ and all the other birds used to understand the sounds as during the flight call they looked at the sky and during the feeding call they looked at the nest.

Dr. Townsend also commented on the paper saying although the blabber birds are structurally similar they have completely different behavioral contexts and can pick up on sounds in different ways.  Townsend also added the findings can shed light on how the early humans developed the human language from sounds. 

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