Cat's entertainment? Musical male mice learn to sing to impress females
'Cheese Release Me' or 'Mouse of The Rising Sun' maybe?
US researchers say they have discovered that mice share brain features used by humans to learn songs based on the sounds they hear.
Scientists say male mice, who use high-pitched 'singing' to woo females, are able to change their tune in order to compete with fellow suitors.
The findings, which are published in the Journal, Plos One, appear to demonstrate that mice share some of the brain mechanisms that humans and songbirds use when learning songs.
Past studies have suggested this ability, which is known as local learning, had been limited to humans, sea lions, seals, birds, dolphins, whales, bats and elephants.
While it was already known that male mice sing or whistle complex songs, when trying to woo females, it was not known that males in a cage together would adjust their songs to match those of a competitor.
The sound of the mice singing is ultrasonic occurring at between 50 and 100KHz and way beyond the hearing range of humans.
Researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans noticed that when two male mice were placed in a cage together they began to slowly match the pitch of their songs.
When scientists subsequently damaged the area in the motor cortex, which they suspected was controlling the singing, the mice lost their ability to maintain the same pitch and sound.
Whilst some scientists remain sceptical about the discovery Dr Erich Jarvis, who oversaw the study, told the BBC that the discovery had changed his understanding of the way mice make sound.
"In mice we find that the pathways that are at least modulating these vocalisations are in the forebrain, in places where you actually find them in humans,"
"We think mice are intermediate in this ability between a chicken and a song bird or even a non human primate and a human," he said."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...