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Lemurs sing to the rhythm of "We Will Rock You" and arrange vocal competitions with neighbors

Italian scientists who have been studyingof a rare primate known as the singing lemur, it was concluded that it uses rhythms in its songs that are characteristic of mammals only for humans. It's a 1: 1 one-tempo beat, similar to the ticking of a metronome or 1: 2 (thump-thump-clap) that we hear in Queen's song “We Will Rock You”. This is the conclusion the researchers came to after analyzing hundreds of primate songs. Let me clarify that by rhythm scientists mean repeating intervals of time between notes. They also note that lemurs use harmonies in their songs, formed by the singing of two or more animals. Moreover, there are verses and choruses in their songs. They use singing in a variety of situations - to find lost family members, when they claim forest plots, as well as during "vocal battles" with their neighbors.

Lemurs use rhythms in their singing that were considered characteristic only of humans.

Singing lemurs use elements from music theory

Scientists increasingly find in animal behaviortraits characteristic of people. They know how to cheat, and when they have fun, they laugh too. But singing is not typical for everyone. According to De Gregorio, a primatologist at the University of Turin in Italy and lead author of a new study published in Current Biology, indri are the only lemurs to communicate through songs. Of course, to the human ear, all this does not sound exactly like singing, it looks more like a “child with a horn”. But after examining in detail the squeak and beeps of animals, scientists discovered certain patterns in them. They concern primarily the duration of the notes, which intersect with the properties of human music.

“Knowing that people and indris share the same rhythm pays for all the days that scientists had to spend in the rain in the forests of Madagascar, waiting for the singing of animals,” says De Gregorio.

In 2015, a group of scientists analyzed more than300 pieces of music, created by human hands, recorded around the world. As a result, certain similarities were found between ethnic music on different continents among different peoples. As a result, scientists have discovered more than a dozen common features of music, including the use of a certain pitch and the repetition of phrases.

Eight common features of musicalthe works that scientists have discovered have been associated with rhythm. In particular, music tends to rely on push-pull structures, also known as categorical rhythms. In these patterns, the notes can be either the same length, creating a 1: 1 ratio (each note per click of the metronome), or a 1: 2 ratio, where some notes are twice as long as others.

Lemurs not only sing alone, but also practice "choral singing"

Music theory in the animal kingdom - are the whales next?

As a result of the discovery of Italian scientists,another question arises - do other singing animals use the rhythms of humans? As the authors of the work say, such studies have never been conducted on dolphins and cetaceans before. It is quite possible that regularities can also be found in their “singing”.

Nightingale thrushes, like lemurs, use familiar rhythms for their songs.

Even the singing of birds, despite the numerousresearch is not fully understood, especially the rhythms they use. It wasn't until 2020 that it was first established that nightingale thrushes similar to human rhythms are used.

Why do animals use music to communicate

Almost all peoples love music.She can make us happy, cheerful, sad, or romantic. We know that music can make us dance, cry, or even get aggressive. Yet explaining what music is and why it affects human emotions so strongly is incredibly difficult.

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However, scientists can say with confidence thatat a certain level, the rhythms affect animals in the same way. Publishing each sound, its author in the animal kingdom tries to influence his listeners. Perhaps it is even more important in the animal kingdom than we can imagine. Therefore, scientists continue to conduct research to find out as much as possible about this. Finally, I will note that animals can not only sing, but also talk, but their form of "speech" is not the same as that of humans.