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Study finds more than 50 'dumb' animals communicate by sound

Study finds more than 50 ‘dumb’ animals communicate by sound

A study published on Tuesday (25) revealed that more than 50 animals It is considered Muteincluding turtles, is actually a form of phonetic expression.

a study Published in the scientific journal Nature Communications Identifies 53 species, most of which are turtles, considered mute, but able to express themselves. Research questions a common ancestor for this species, more than 400 million years ago.

Among the animals are the “lungfish” (a fish called dipnoia, which has lungs in addition to the gills) and “caebaceous frogs,” which are worm-shaped amphibians.

It all started during a research expedition on turtles in the Brazilian Amazon, according to the study’s lead author, evolutionary biologist Gabriel Georgiewich-Cohen.

“When I got home, I decided to register my animals,” including a tortoise I’ve had since I was a kid named Homer. To his surprise, Gabriel discovered that Homer and other turtles were making squawks. He then began recording other species of turtle, sometimes using a water microphone – a microphone that allows recording underwater.

“All of the species I recorded produced sounds (…) so we asked ourselves how many other animals considered silent produce these sounds,” explains Jorgewich-Cohen, a researcher at the University of Zurich.

The team also recorded the sounds of a rare species of reptile found in New Zealand, the tuatara. All of these animals produce crackling or gurgling sounds, even when at rest or only a few times a day, according to the study.

common ancestor

The researchers compared the results with data on the evolutionary history of vocal communication from 1,800 other animal species.

The group used a technique known as Reconstruction of ancestorswhich calculates the probability that a trait was common in many species in the past.

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“We found that the common ancestor of this group actually produced sounds and purposely communicated with the help of these sounds,” Gabriel noted.

Until now, scientists believed that tetrapods – four-legged animals such as turtles – and lungfishes evolved separately in terms of vocal communication. “But now we’re showing the opposite, they come from the same place,” he explains.

At least the common ancestor lived 407 million years agoduring the Paleozoic era, according to the study.