Phylogenetic signal in the vocalizations of vocal learning and vocal non-learning birds

Autor(en)
Jozsef Arato, W. Tecumseh Fitch
Abstrakt

Some animal vocalizations develop reliably in the absence of relevant experience, but an intriguing subset of animal vocalizations is learned: they require acoustic models during ontogeny in order to develop, and the learner's vocal output reflects those models. To what extent do such learned vocalizations reflect phylogeny? We compared the degree to which phylogenetic signal is present in vocal signals from a wide taxonomic range of birds, including both vocal learners (songbirds) and vocal non-learners. We used publically available molecular phylogenies and developed methods to analyse spectral and temporal features in a carefully curated collection of high-quality recordings of bird songs and bird calls, to yield acoustic distance measures. Our methods were initially developed using pairs of closely related North American and European bird species, and then applied to a non-overlapping random stratified sample of European birds. We found strong similarity in acoustic and genetic distances, which manifested itself as a significant phylogenetic signal, in both samples. In songbirds, both learned song and (mostly) unlearned calls allowed reconstruction of phylogenetic trees nearly isomorphic to the phylogenetic trees derived from genetic analysis. We conclude that phylogeny and inheritance constrain vocal structure to a surprising degree, even in learned birdsong. This article is part of the theme issue 'Vocal learning in animals and humans'.

Organisation(en)
Forschungsverbund Kognitionswissenschaft, Department für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie
Journal
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Band
376
ISSN
0962-8436
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0241
Publikationsdatum
10-2021
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
106051 Verhaltensbiologie
Schlagwörter
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all), Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/phylogenetic-signal-in-the-vocalizations-of-vocal-learning-and-vocal-nonlearning-birds(b93b5a1d-2c60-4330-8569-39f8dd31da03).html