Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is becoming part of NAVC VetFolio.
    Starting in January 2015, Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician articles will be available on
    NAVC VetFolio. VetFolio subscribers will have
    access to not only the journals, but also:
  • Over 500 hours of CE
  • Community forums to discuss tough cases
    and networking with your peers
  • Three years of select NAVC Conference
    Proceedings
  • Free webinars for the entire healthcare team

To access Vetlearn, you must first sign in or register.

registernow

  Sign up now for:
Become a Member

Reference Desk February 2013

Roots of Language in Human and Bird Biology

    February 14, 2013 — The genes activated for human speech are similar to the ones used by singing songbirds, new experiments suggest.

    These results, which are not yet published, show that gene products produced for speech in the cortical and basal ganglia regions of the human brain correspond to similar molecules in the vocal communication areas of the brains of zebra finches and budgerigars. But these molecules aren't found in the brains of doves and quails — vocal birds that do not learn their sounds.

    "The results suggest that similar behavior and neural connectivity for a convergent complex trait like speech and song are associated with many similar genetic changes," said Duke neurobiologist Erich Jarvis, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

    Jarvis studies the molecular pathways that songbirds use while learning to sing. In past experiments, he and his collaborators found that songbirds have a connection between the front part of their brain and nerves in the brainstem that control movement in muscles that make songs in birds. They've seen this circuit in a more primitive form related to ultrasonic mating calls in mice. Humans also have this motor learning pathway for speech.

    From this and other work, Jarvis developed the motor theory for the origin of vocal learning, which describes how ancient brain systems used to control movement and motor learning evolved into brain systems for learning and producing song and spoken language.

    Source: Duke University

    didyouknow

    Did you know... 90% of pet owners would fight more passionately for their pets than for money in a divorce.Read More

    Stay on top of all our latest content — sign up for the Vetlearn newsletters.
    • More
    Subscribe