The physics of birdsong production
Author: Mindlin, G.B.
Source: Contemporary Physics, Volume 54, Number 2, 1 April 2013 , pp. 91-96(6)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd
Abstract:Human babies need to learn how to talk. The need of a tutor to achieve acceptable vocalisations is a feature that we share with a few species in the animal kingdom. Among those are Songbirds, which account for nearly half of the known bird species. For that reason, Songbirds have become an ideal animal model to study how a brain reconfigures itself during the process of learning a complex task. In the last few years, neuroscientists have invested important resources in order to unveil the neural architecture involved in birdsong production and learning. Yet, behaviour emerges from the interaction between a nervous system, a peripheral biomechanical architecture and environment, and therefore its study should be just as integrated. In particular, the physical study of the avian vocal organ can help to elucidate which features found in the song of birds are under direct control of specific neural instructions and which emerge from the biomechanics involved in its generation. This work describes recent advances in the study of the physics of birdsong production.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: FCEyN, University of Buenos Aires Department of Physics, Argentina,
Publication date: 1 April 2013