Images of zebra finch, hummingbirds, budgerigars, bats, whales, human

Photos: Birds and Animals

Caption: Only three groups of animals are known to exhibit vocal learning: three groups of birds and three groups of mammals. Photographs representing each group are shown here:

1. Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) are small species of parrot native to Australia. Parrots are one of only three avian orders known to be vocal learners, the others being songbirds and hummingbirds. Considering the 65 million years of evolutionary history that separates songbirds and parrots from their common ancestor, if their vocal nuclei evolved independently, then convergence on similar molecular and anatomical substrates would suggest that vertebrate brain organization and possible epigenetic factors place strong constraints on how such structures could evolve. (Credit: Erich Jarvis, Duke University)
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2. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia gutata) are one of the most commonly studied and well-described songbird for neuroanatomy, molecular biology, electrophysiology, and behavior combined. Credit: Erich Jarvis, Duke University.
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3. This picture by Luiz Claudio Marigo of Brazil shows a Gluacis hirsuta hummingbird feeding from a flower-nectar in the Atlantic Tropical Forest of Brazil. This species when sings shows gene induction in in 7 forebrain regions, identyfing forebrian vocal nuclei in hummingbirds.
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4. Bat. William Conner and Nickolay Hristov, Wake Forest University.

5. Whales.

6. Street scene of humans.

Source: Erich Jarvis

NSF Funded: Yes

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