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back to article Serenading mice can sing along if you hum a few bars

Neuroboffins are claiming that mice can not only sing, serenading at ultrasonic melodies high above soprano, but they can also change their tune. Remy from Ratatouille The study has found certain brain features, associated with human and song-learning birds' brains, that show they may be able to learn new songs from each …

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Anonymous Coward

Question for neuro "boffins"

Why wouldn't the motor cortex be involved in vocalisation? If we damage the motor cortex of a mouse, why would we expect anything other than a very spazzy mouse?

What exactly is the "new science" here?

Sounds like some publicity-seeking tarts are playing with a very expensive brain scanner.

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Re: Question for neuro "boffins"

Because you need a wee bit more to "sing" than simply emit a (serial) pitched noise, and there's quite a bit of overlap in various modes of pitch/sound forming, all using roughly the same area of the motor cortex, which incidentally also handles other functions in the same "geographical" area of musculature.

If you're so smart, *you* try and pinpoint the handful of neurons responsible for [behaviour X] without the use of a lot of fancy technology, and without going through several years' worth of mice allowance in a month.

*If* you can get the permits necessary for in-vivo invasive animal experiments using your doubtlessly superior methods of experimentation..

The "C" in AC is strong in you though.

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Re: Question for neuro "boffins"

I'm no boffin, but the point of this was to find out if the songs of mice were innate and unchangeable, or involved forms of thinking and learning.

The new science is that we now know the songs of mice aren't entirely innate or instinctive, and that mice can change their songs according to what they hear, which amounts to learning. That's the 'new science'

The ramifications of this are clearly valuable, and open the way to addressing more intractable scientific challenges. It's now possible to imagine, for example, that within a lifetime we'll be able to teach a guinea pig to sing.

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Monty Python's Mouse Organ

Specially tuned rodents, played with a mallet. "This one is E-sharp, and this one is G."

Magic.

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Pint

Two mice walk into a bar...

Bartender: "We don't serve your kind here!"

(it was a music-bar)

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Coat

Re: Two mice walk into a bar...

Don't be silly, mice don't walk into a bar.

They wait until someone else walks in then, as the door closes behind him, they squeak in.

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Mice are not, as is commonly assumed on Earth, small white squeaking animals...

... who spend a lot of time being experimented on.

Now, if these two male mice are our friends Benjy and Frankie, we should shortly be hearing some exciting news about a new bypass in our neighbourhood.

Has anyone been down the planning office recently? I must admit, I haven't - too apathetic.

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Oliver Postgate had it nailed, all those years ago. Who knew?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVzAJbEkyyU

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TRT
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Babe.

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Can we hear some recordings?

Suitably downshifted in frequency of course.

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TRT
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Re: Can we hear some recordings?

Already have. Called Christina Aguilera.

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Devil

Don't tell Simon Cowell

else singing mice will dominate the prime time TV next year.

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Happy

Re: Don't tell Simon Cowell

Are you saying that X Factor is the same as this experiment?

Take some people that can sing. Put other people with them, to see if their singing will become more like the ones who can sing.

As a test, introduce others, with brain damage, as a control.

Hmmmm. You might be onto something here. It would certainly explain a lot...

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Devil

Re: Don't tell Simon Cowell

"As a test, introduce others, with brain damage, as a control." - You mean the viewers at home, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't tell Simon Cowell

That would certainly explains JLS...

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From the movie..

Make with the clicky for the singing mice. Tra la!

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Facepalm

of course the problem being you included a picture of a Rat in your article about Mice

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Little

Stuart Little would have been more appropriate (rather than Remy)

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I heard mice sing...

Out "squeeeee squeeee squeee squee squ..." after dropping them down a trash chute once they were stuck on sticky tape traps. I hated killing them. I think they made a lifetime "note" of it 4 stories down.

(Wasn't as catchy as ABC's "16-Storey Halo", mind you....)

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Unhappy

Re: I heard mice sing...

Sticky traps. Please don't, people.

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Re: I heard mice sing...

Barbaric, horrible, cruel things sticky traps are.

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Bagpuss!

And the Marellous mechanical Mouse Organ!

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3 deaf mice, 3 deaf mice.....

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Coat

It's...

a small world, after all!

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Anonymous Coward

"We will fix it, we will fix it".

On second thoughts, maybe not this song in light of the news from last week.

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Joke

This could spell doom!

If Disney didn't lie about singing mice, then what will happen to us if Monty Python didn't lie about killer rabbits?

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Sounds familiar

Mice with the damaged neurones or deaf mice couldn't keep their songs on pitch or repeat them as consistently.

I can't sing on pitch, and half the time I can't remember the words either. Bested by mice again. Curses!

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