Discovery.com recently reported two instances of animals manipulating sound to master their environments.
Cuckoos are known for tricking birds into rearing their chicks: They lay their eggs in another species’ nest and, once hatched, the baby cuckoos push out the eggs and/or chicks of the host birds. While it’s also known that the baby cuckoos can mimic the cries of the host birds’ chicks, scientists were surprised to find that one Australian species, the Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoo, takes this a step further.
Tengo pince hambre! Je suis baiser affamé! Sono scopare affamato! Excuse me, can you please bring me some food?
These cuckoo chicks know the calls without ever having heard the other species’ chicks’ cries, AND they can modify their calls from one species to another if their initial attempts are not working. Naomi Langmore of…
…Australian National University, working with colleagues at University of Cambridge issued her findings in the most recent issue of Evolution. The speculation now is that these cuckoo chicks are genetically programmed with songs of host birds’ young uns, and genetically programmed to keep cycling through the calls until one sparks the interest of the host parents.
In another bizarre discovery, scientists have identified a rare Chinese frog that can change its ears’ frequency much like the dial on a radio to selectively hear different sounds. Odorrana tormota live on the banks near extremely noisy, quickly rushing water. The frogs communicate with one another in two ways, either bird-likes chirps or ultrasonic noises depending on how the mood suits them. In order to hear each other, the frogs can switch their ears to be receptive to one frequency or the other.
Lily Pad emporium is going out of business and we’re slashing prices starting Sunday, Sunday, Su–Sky mosquitos in flight. Afternoon delight. Afternoon–Eschuchando radio por ranas, siento cinco punto siete–Apple bottom jeans, frog legs with the fur!
Albert Feng coauthored the study which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Feng used lasers to monitor the frogs’ eardrums as they reacted to different sounds. Amazingly, the frogs’ ears sometimes were sensitive to the ultrasonic sounds and sometimes were not, meaning that somehow the frog was turning on and off this sensitivity. Feng found that the frogs could open and close their Eustachian tubes in order to hear or not hear the noises, the only known creature on the planet who can accomplish this! If I can figure out the same technique, I may never have to hear another Nelly song again. Peace…sweet peace.