Embryonic Learning and Spotting Imposters

Science is cool.

Everything you’ve ever learned, you learned from someone who knew something that you didn’t. Think about that for a minute. We’re constantly giving gifts to one another via packets of information, even if it’s just by demonstrating how not to behave. I love that concept.

Now imagine this. You are a zebra finch, not yet ready to hatch, and yet you can hear your mother singing to you from outside your fragile little shell. The song of the zebra finch is varied and beautiful. Listen to it here.

But on this day, it’s unseasonably hot. It’s above 78 degrees. Because of this, your mother is singing a song to you that she does not sing at any other time. This gets your attention. And because you have heard this song, you are born smaller, and more capable of coping with the heat.

Isn’t that amazing? Your mom sings the zebra finch equivalent to “We’re Having a Heat Wave” and somehow, in your embryonic state, your body decides not to put on that previously planned layer of fat. And even more interesting, having heard that song impacts your nest choice 200 days after you have hatched.

All this, according to a scientific study outlined in an article entitled Birds Sing to Their Eggs, and This Song Might Help Their Babies Survive Climate Change. I strongly urge you to check it out for further details. It’s fascinating. It’s science.

The article goes on to describe how fairy wrens teach their chicks to make certain sounds that cuckoos are incapable of making. Why? Because cukoos like to lay their eggs in fairy wren nests in the hopes that the fairy wrens won’t realize it and do all the work of hatching those eggs and feeding those chicks. So you either learn that song or you’re shown the figurative door.

Nature is cool. Science is cool. And now I’m wishing I was hatched from an egg and had some foreknowledge of what I was getting myself into!

Enjoy my random musings? Then you’ll love my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

4 thoughts on “Embryonic Learning and Spotting Imposters”

  1. I must be part bird because I sang, talked and read to my children while in the womb. 🙂 Wish the article included a sound bite of the acoustic signal. I couldn’t watch the 3 hour video of the singing finches for long. I always get an uncontrollable urge to set a caged bird free when I see them and it’s stressful. Winged creatures belong to the skies.

  2. Afraid my flying days are over but I do enjoy watching you out there still testing your wings. 🙂
    Happy holidays to you and yours as well. Stay warm and covid safe.

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