" We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." - Dissent from Darwin

Natural selection [is used] carelessly as a mantra, as in the evidence-free “just-so stories” concocted out of thin air by mentally lazy adaptationists. (Stephen Jay Gould)

In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. (Isaac newton)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How BIRD learnt to sing

The fastest muscles known lie within the throats of songbirds, according to new research on how birds vibrate their vocal cords. Superfast muscles were previously known only from the sound-producing organs of rattlesnakes, several fish and the ringdove. We now have shown that songbirds also evolved this extreme performance muscle type, suggesting these muscles -- once thought extraordinary -- are more common than previously believed."

Daniel Mennill, an avian biologist at the University of Windsor in Canada, noted that fieldwork has shown songbird vocalizations to be among the most precisely timed behaviors in the animal kingdom. "The synchronized duets and choruses of wrens, for example, are the most highly coordinated animal behaviors ever recorded," he said. "By having these extraordinary muscles, birds have a more precise control of their voice and can actively change the volume and frequency of their song faster than previously thought physically possible," Elemans says.

Storytellers: Coen Elemans, University of Utah
Superfast Vocal Muscles In Songbirds: Hundred Times Faster Than Blink Of An Eye

Song Function and the Evolution of Female Preferences: Why Birds Sing, Why Brains Matter

Story Research: Publication bias in the study of bird song

The Origin of Human Speech: an "all or nothing" jump!

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