Finding out how sea animals talk in secret

Finding out how sea animals talk in secret

Scientists thought that 53 sea creatures couldn’t talk, but now they know that they can.

Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen says that the creatures have been sending messages all along, but people have never thought to listen.

He used microphones to record the species, like turtles, telling each other that they wanted to mate or come out of their eggs.

Some of what we know about evolution may have to be rewritten because of the findings.

They think that 400 million years ago, all vertebrates that breathe through their noses and use sounds to communicate descended from a single ancestor.

It is a strong claim in evolutionary biology, which debates whether living things came from a single ancestor or from more than one source.

Mr. Jorgewich-Cohen, a PhD student at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, started his work with the idea that marine animals might use sound to talk to each other.

He used sound and video equipment to record 53 species in zoos and other places around the world, including the Chester Zoo in England.

There were 50 turtles, a tuatara, a lungfish, and a caecilian among the creatures. People thought that all of these animals were mute, but Mr. Jorgewich-Cohen thinks that they were just hard to hear.

“We can tell when a bird is singing.

You already know what it is, so no one has to tell you. But some of these animals are very quiet or only make a sound every two days, “BBC News reported.

Mr. Jorgewich-Cohen also said that people have a preference for animals that live on land, so they ignore animals that live underwater.

Using videos of the animals making noises, he was able to link the noises to the animals’ actions and tell them apart from noises that animals make by accident but don’t mean anything.

“Sea turtles will sing from inside their eggs to coordinate when they will hatch,” he said. “If they call from inside, they all come out at once to try to avoid being eaten.”

He said turtles also make noises when they want to mate, pointing to videos of turtle mating sounds that are popular on social media.

Mr. Jorgewich-Cohen also got recordings of tuataras

making noises to keep watch over their territory.

He then started to think about what the discovery said about how animals that make noise have changed over time.

Scientists often can’t learn enough from fossils about animals that lived millions of years ago, so they compare how animals act today.

Mr. Jorgevich-Cohen found out how animals that make noise are related by using a method called “phylogenetic analysis.”

The method works by making a family tree out of the behaviours of a species. If, for example, both humans and chimpanzees make noise, this suggests that their common ancestor also made noise.

He came to the conclusion that all acoustic communication in vertebrates came from a single ancestor 400 million years ago. This was the Devonian period, when most species lived in water.

Recent research, on the other hand, has shown that different species were making sounds to communicate 200 million years ago.

Biologist Catherine Hobaiter, who wasn’t part of the study, told BBC News that the recordings of these 53 species were a welcome addition to what we know about how animals communicate through sound.

“Comparing humans to chimpanzees doesn’t take us back more than a few million years,” she said.

“We need to see similarities between much more distant relatives in order to go back hundreds of millions of years in time and learn more.” The research is written up in Nature Communications, a scientific journal.

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