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

Dear Pete and others,
This used to be an issue that I was actively studying. I chose the macaque because I was interested in vocal production.  However, as others have pointed out, other animal species may be preferable for other purposes.

If you are interested in production, macaques are excellent because the way they control vocalizations is very similar to humans, and they can learn to modify their vocalizations.  The neuroanatomy, including sensory receptors in the larynx, has some similarities to humans.

In regards to Martin' s suggestion, clinical lesion data for the anterior cingulate gyrus in primates are very similar to similar lesion data in humans.  

The major problem I sound with macaques is that they don't vocalize a lot. It seems that Marmosets may be an excellent model if you want an animal that is very vocal.


On Mar 2, 2011, at 9:13 AM, Martin Braun wrote:

Dear Pete, and others,

perhaps you have picked a problem that probably cannot be solved within the foreseeable future (say, 10 years).

If you want to learn from links between mutations and disorders, your research will be confined to small, fast breeding animals. The neural systems of vocalization in these animals, however, are so much different from the human ones that it is unlikely that you will find parallels between genetically generated disorders in these animals and lesion generated disorders in humans (e.g., caused by stroke).

It looks you would have to collect data from non-human primates and compare them with clinical lesion data from humans.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
email: nombraun@xxxxxxxxx
web site: http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/index.htm

----- Original Message ----- From: "Pete Howell" <p.howell@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 3:03 PM
Subject: What animal model provides the closest match to human vocalization?

Thanks everyone for your replies. I was deliberately vague as I was interested in getting a range of suggestions (btw the goat was really funny). Mutations in mice and zebra finches have been used to model speech disorders where auditory feedback processes are often thought to be implicated. The primary interest is in how CNS connectivity is affected. But people have looked at each of these species' vocalizations after mutation and then drawn parallels with disordered speech. My worry about the animal models is that the vocalization behaviors that have been observed are very different from human speech in both its natural and disordered forms. So, I wondered whether there was an animal model we could start with that vocalized and heard in closer ways to humans than the existing models. Then we could have a good look at the parallels to speech disorders after mutation in a systematic way (whether articulatory coordination is affected, whether they show tonic and clonic features etc.). I'd overlooked the point Stuart made - that I should look for species that vocalize a lot, so ta for that. We only have limited facilities and licenses for animal work, so I am still actively seeking suggestions, so please continue suggestions.


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