Analyzing some 15,000 bat vocalizations, researchers identify speakers, objectives and contexts of bat conversations Date:December 27, 2016Source:American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Bats, like humans, are extremely social mammals. They enjoy an average lifespan of 20-30 years, settle in large colonies, and rely heavily on social interactions for their survival, using vocalizations -- or calls -- for communication. There is very little known about the purpose and content of these noises.
A new Tel Aviv University study published in Scientific Reports extracts critical information from bat vocalizations to offer a rare, informative look into the world of bat communication. The new research, led by Prof. Yossi Yovel of the Department of Zoology at TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences, delves into the veritable cacophony emitted by bats to identify concrete evidence of a socially sophisticated species that learns communication, rather than being born with a fixed set of communication skills.
"When you enter a bat cave, you hear a lot of 'gibberish,' a cacophony of aggressive bat noise -- but is this merely 'shouting' or is there information amid the noise?" said Prof. Yovel. "Previous research presumed that most bat communication was based on screaming and shouting. We wanted to know how much information was actually conveyed -- and we wanted to see if we could, in fact, extract that information."
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