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June 7, 2013

Babies and birds learn the same way

New research by an international team of researchers from the USA, Israel and Dr Okanoya's group at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute shows that human babies and baby birds learn to communicate in similar ways.

The researchers studied chicks of zebra finches and Bengalese finches and a group of human babies and reveal that their ability to master complex sequences of syllables or songs isn't innate.

During the learning process, the chicks and babies have to learn how to put syllables together slowly, pair by pair, before they can combine them in more complex sequences. In humans, this well-known babbling progression can take 20-30 weeks.

The study is published in Nature doi:10.1038/nature12173