Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is getting a new home. Starting this fall,
    Vetlearn becomes part of the NAVC VetFolio family.

    You'll have access to the entire Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician archives and get to explore
    even more ways to learn and earn CE by becoming
    a VetFolio subscriber. Subscriber benefits:
  • Over 500 hours of interactive CE Videos
  • An engaging new Community for tough cases
    and networking
  • Three years of NAVC Conference Proceedings
  • All-new articles (CE and other topics) for the entire
    healthcare team

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

registernow

  • Registration for new subscribers will open in August 2014!
  • Watch for additional exciting news coming soon!
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... 83% of veterinarians believe that running a veterinary practice is as much a people business as it is a medical service. Read More

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