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
New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences
18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences