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16 hours ago
11 October 2012, 11:12
Mice are capable of manipulating their vocal pitch depending on their setting and any surrounding mouse friends, a new study confirms.
Scientific research by Tulane University in New Orleans has challenged the notion that mice are incapable of adapting the pitch of their voices. It was previously assumed that the small rodents used their voices to attract mates, but it has emerged that they are in fact able to change the pitch.
The research found that when two male mice were placed together, the pitch of their songs gradually became closer to each other. This indicated to the scientists that some form of learning was taking place.
Speaking about the mice's ability to change their 'song', Dr. Erich Jarvis told the Telegraph: "In mice, they don't exist at the advanced levels found in humans and song-learning birds, but they also are not completely absent as commonly assumed."
To control the experiment, mice with damaged brain cells and deaf mice were also housed together, the result being that they were unable to control the pitch of their voices. It is thought that the findings may contribute to ongoing research into the effects of human conditions like autism and anxiety disorders.