Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


From Humming Fish to Puccini: Vocal Communication Evolved with Ancient Species

It’s a long way from the dull hums of the amorous midshipman fish to the strains of a Puccini aria – or, alas, even to the simplest Celine Dion melody. But the neural circuitry that led to the human love song – not to mention birdsongs, frog thrums and mating calls of all manner of vertebrates – was likely laid down hundreds of millions of years ago with the hums and grunts of the homely piscine.

By mapping the developing brain cells in newly hatched midshipman fish larvae and comparing them to other species, Andrew H. Bass, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, and colleagues Edwin Gilland of Howard University and Robert Baker of New York University found that the neural network behind sound production in vertebrates can be traced back through evolutionary time to an era long before the first animals ventured onto dry land.

The research is published in the July 18 issue of the journal Science.

Bass used fluorescent dyes to identify distinct groups of neurons in the brains of the larvae of midshipman fish, a species known for the loud humming sounds adult males generate with their swim bladders to attract females to their nests.

With laser-scanning confocal microscopy, the research team observed clusters of cells in the larvae’s developing hindbrain as they formed connections and grew into the networks that control vocalization in mature fish.

“Confocal microscopy allows you to look at different populations of neurons at the same time – to really be precise about their locations relative to each other,” Bass said. He found that the neurons in a compartment of the hindbrain known as rhombomere 8, which are thought to control pattern generation in vocalizing vertebrates, gives rise to the circuitry of the vocal motor nucleus – the system behind the fishes’ hums.

Comparing the system to the neural circuitry behind vocalizations of amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals, including primates, Bass found that while the networks vary in complexity, their fundamental attributes are conserved.

The finding puts human speech – and social communications of all vertebrates – in evolutionary context, Bass said.

The research also provides a framework for neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists studying social behavior in a variety of species, he said – and sends a message to scientists and non-scientists “about the importance of this group of animals to understanding behavior; to understanding the nervous system; and to understanding just how important social communication is – among them, as it is among ourselves.”

Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
Further information:

Further reports about: Puccini circuitry hums midshipman neural neurons species vertebrates

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>