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Re: What animal model provides the closest match to human vocalization?

If you are talking about importance of communication, learning of vocalizations, auditory feedback for the learning and maintenance of vocal communication and function of the vocal apparatus - then birds actually do come the closest.
If you mean mimicking human speech, then Jose is correct - parrots would be the closest in that respect.


Beth Brittan-Powell, PhD
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Grants Development


Dept of Psychology
University of Maryland

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>>> Josà Ignacio AlcÃntara <jia10@xxxxxxxxx> 3/2/2011 4:02 AM >>>
I think that most of what we can infer about the functional organisation of the human auditory cortical system comes from the neuroanatomy and neurophysiological studies of the Macaque brain.  The problem with this is that vocalisation isn't an important form of communication in this species.  Even if we can assume similarities b/w the functional organisation of the macaque and human (auditory) brain, functional specialisation must diverge in the two species at, or before, the point where speech-specific processing begins in humans.

Don't know about the closest animal model to human vocalisation.  If you're looking for a good vocal match, it seems to me a parrot does a pretty good job, not only because the vocalisation is intelligible, but also because the sound quality is disturbingly similar to human speech.  But I don't think this is what you were after?


On 2 Mar 2011, at 08:33, Pete Howell wrote:

Birds and mice have been used in studies intended to establish how genetic mutations affect vocalization. It seems to me that neither of these produce sounds that are close to those that humans produce. I wondered whether members of the list have suggestions about what  animal model provides the closest match to human vocalization and audition. In terms of vocalization, primates or whales/porpoises seem contenders, but few labs can provide facilities for these.
Peter Howell


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Dr Josà Ignacio AlcÃntara

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