• Video contributions from authors of Science papers

Growl, Grunt, Hum

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Most of the major vertebrate lineages, including fishes, have social, context-dependent acoustic communication. In midshipman fish, vocalizations by nesting males include growls (first clip in movie) and grunts (second clip) to drive off rivals, and hums (third clip) produced during courtship. Bass et al. mapped the neural circuitry for vocalization in these fish (as larvae), and showed that the vocal network develops in a specific region of the developing hindbrain and spinal cord -- and that the pattern in these larval brains aligns well with the vocal circuitry of other groups of vocal vertebrates, including humans. Thus the brain circuitry driving vocalizations may have its origins far back in the evolution leading to bony vertebrates.

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