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Song birds claimed to use grammar

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Bengalese or society finch

In “Finches tweet using grammar,” Clare Pain (ABC , 27 June 2011) reports

The scientists played jumbled-up birdsongs to individual finches to see whether the birds responded with the usual burst of calls to the jumbled songs. To their surprise they found that there were some jumbled songs that elicited a call-burst response and some that did not. Even more surprising: all the birds responded in the same way. If one bird ignored a jumbled call, all the other birds ignored that call too. It seems that the order of syllables matters to the birds, and that suggests grammar in action.

The birds, the researchers say, do better than monkeys would.

“Our results indicate that syllable sequences in birdsongs convey some information”, say the Japanese researchers, which leads one to wonder whether birds extract any meaning from their songs. “It may well mean something to the bird,” says Kaplan, “otherwise why would they bother?”

Many sources would advise caution about such a conclusion. This story follows an increasingly common, newer pattern: No alternative interpretation is sought.

File with: Bird tool use study provides answers, questions

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2 Responses to Song birds claimed to use grammar

  1. When the birds don’t answer, they’re thinking “What’s that gibberish!”. When they do answer to the jumble, they’re all saying “What?”. :)

  2. Fascinating!

    notes:

    Origin of Soulish Animals:
    Excerpt: Bolhuis and Wynne contrast the cognitive capacities of birds and primates.,,, Evidently, certain bird species exhibit greater powers of the mind than do apes.
    http://www.reasons.org/OriginofSoulishAnimals

    New Caledonian Crows Exceed Apes/Chimps at Trap-tube Experiment – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M52ZVtmPE9g

    As well, there is no evidence for another favorite evolutionary myth that says birds evolved from dinosaurs, as these videos and articles, in this following link, clearly point out:

    No Evidence For Birds Evolving From Anything
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1UF3DhlUnDM0Qrwh8ZmyLJA2r9hGFvHjoXki6WTzYg5M

    =============

    The Unknown Origin of Pterosaurs – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP6htc371fM

    Bat Evolution? – No Transitional Fossils! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6003501/

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