Simple rubber devices mimic complex bird-songs

A team from Harvard and Brown who were "just playing around" make a profound insight about biology (BBC News)

SEAS graduate student Aryesh Mukherjee and Brown faculty member Shreyas Mandre (who was previously a lecturer and researcher at SEAS) used a few pieces of rubber to mimic complex bird-songs.

A simple rubber device that replicates complex bird songs has been developed by a team of US researchers.

The song is produced by blowing air through the device, which mimics a bird's vocal tract, the team explained.

The findings appear to challenge the idea that birds had to learn complicated neurological controls in order to produce distinctive calls.

The team plans to share its data with biologists to see if it sheds new light on how birds produce complex songs.

"I definitely did not think that I would be able to produce a whole bird song when we started," explained Aryesh Mukherjee, a member of the project team from Harvard University.

"We were just playing around and I probed the device in a certain way and it started playing a bird song - that was very exciting."

Read the full article on BBC News

Topics: Applied Mathematics