Big bag bats are the dream of a field biologist. They hunt insects at dawn and dusk, staying awake most of the day and resting at night.
“They like pretty well-lit places,” said Miriam Kornschild, a behavioral environmentalist at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, who studies bats that fly near trees or buildings rather than in gloomy, guano-filled caves.
And the bats, about two inches long, keep enough distance between them to distinguish one from the other. “We mark them on the forearms with colored plastic rings,” said Dr. Conschild. “We can also use a directional microphone to record the voices of individual bats.”
This is possible because these bats are the only mammals other than humans that are known to bark like babies. Bats include adult syllables and sounds that are heard only by young people. Բն The nature of gossip changes over time as bats learn territorial և love songs. In addition, their songs are not sung at a high frequency, which bats use for echolocation.
“It immediately reminds you of newborns,” says Ahana A., who is in the museum. Fernandez, who recently analyzed rumbles with Dr. Conschild և and other colleagues. Dr. Fernandez said that the behavior of gossip is well known, but it is not strictly studied. The researchers wanted to “thoroughly analyze the murmuring behavior of the pup, to compare it with the gossip of a child.”
They analyzed the recordings of 20 bats from 216 “thumping” bats in two colonies of Costa Rica and Panama, which averaged about seven minutes but lasted 43 minutes. The researchers found that the sounds of kittens are similar to those of newborns, with the repetition of syllables, the rhythmic nature of gossip, the generality of gossip.
As with human babies, all the cubs were screaming. Other similarities with human newborns include the early onset of cramps, the long sequence of sounds, and the fact that kittens do not need stimuli from other bats. Like babies, they just talked, gradually gaining more and more voices. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science on Thursday.
D. Kimbrough Oller of the University of Memphis, who has studied the sound development of human infants for decades, says that “there are some striking parallels” in the analysis of human murmurs, the song of birds, and large-scale observations of bat bats. which was just “the number of gossips that happen.”
Like humans, they were constantly making noise.
“Every time they are awake, they do it,” says Dr. Oller, who was not part of the study but is collaborating with some authors in future articles. He said bats gossip no matter what the stimulus, as newborns do. According to him, human children study their sounds by playing with them, as if they are auditory objects, which are similar to the physical objects with which they manipulate, taste and play. “I think the big bat is probably doing the same thing. “I think they’re probably studying those sounds,” said Dr. Oller.
No other mammal is known to make such gossip, although it is common among singing birds.
In bats, both males and females buzz, but the females stop connecting the syllables they learned when they were weaned. Dr. Conschild said adult women “do not sing.” They do not produce regional or romance songs, and males do. ”
Then why gossip? Dr. Fernandez said that it is possible that when females know what is going on in the romance song, it makes them a better judge of the male song. This is only a hypothesis, but women certainly judge male songs. Males compete intensely with their bat song to capture a female harem. Females choose which man they prefer, and males constantly flirt with them in a kind of ongoing talent contest.
“The choice of a woman seems to play a huge role in mating behavior,” says Dr. Conschild. “Males are a little smaller than females, they can’t physically force them to do anything.”
And females may not be looking for only the smartest or most energetic singers, says Yale ornithologist Richard Prum. In his book, The Evolution of Beauty, he argues that it is a feather or a dance or song, and that female birds, some other female animals, make choices based on essential aesthetic criteria that they enjoy. He said that in the case of bats, aesthetic choices can drive song development.
Dr. Consherschild said that aesthetic choice is certainly possible, although he said that bat songs have sound qualities that indicate male readiness.
He also suspects that there are more gossip species. Until now, the science of vocal training has focused on birds, but in mammals, he said, mole rats, giant otters, dolphins and other cetaceans are good targets for research.
“It would be really interesting to have more gossipy descriptions of different kinds, so that they might clarify the evolutionary pressures that cause squeezing in one species rather than the other,” he said.
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