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    Finches Get Grammar

    NewsStrange but TrueWednesday 29 June 2011
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    At last scientists have discovered that humans are not the only animals that use grammatical rules in communication – birds do too! According to researchers from Science and Technology Agency in Saitama, Japan. The experiments, done with Bengal finches, show that songbirds have an ability to process syntactic structures in their songs.

    To show a sense of syntax in the birds, the team of scientists played four jumbled-up, "ungrammatical" versions of finch songs to the birds and measured the response calls. The birds reacted to only one of the four jumbled versions, as if they noticed it violated some rule of grammar, whereas the other three songs did not. Although many animals such as dogs and apes are able to interpret sentences and single words, so far only finches have been shown capable of understanding grammar.

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