Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Behaviour, biology and evolution of vocal learning in bats

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

DOI

Author(s)

Sonja C Vernes, Gerald S Wilkinson

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The comparative approach can provide insight into the evolution of human speech, language and social communication by studying relevant traits in animal systems. Bats are emerging as a model system with great potential to shed light on these processes given their learned vocalizations, close social interactions, and mammalian brains and physiology. A recent framework outlined the multiple levels of investigation needed to understand vocal learning across a broad range of non-human species, including cetaceans, pinnipeds, elephants, birds and bats. Here, we apply this framework to the current state-of-the-art in bat research. This encompasses our understanding of the abilities bats have displayed for vocal learning, what is known about the timing and social structure needed for such learning, and current knowledge about the prevalence of the trait across the order. It also addresses the biology (vocal tract morphology, neurobiology and genetics) and evolution of this trait. We conclude by highlighting some key questions that should be answered to advance our understanding of the biological encoding and evolution of speech and spoken communication. This article is part of the theme issue 'What can animal communication teach us about human language?'

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190061
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Volume375
Issue number1789
Early online date18 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Animal Communication, Animals, Birds/physiology, Brain, Chiroptera/physiology, Comprehension, Humans, Language, Learning/physiology, Speech/physiology, Vocalization, Animal/physiology

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. DNA methylation predicts age and provides insight into exceptional longevity of bats

    Wilkinson, G. S., Adams, D. M., Haghani, A., Lu, A. T., Zoller, J., Breeze, C. E., Arnold, B. D., Ball, H. C., Carter, G. G., Cooper, L. N., Dechmann, D. K. N., Devanna, P., Fasel, N. J., Galazyuk, A. V., Günther, L., Hurme, E., Jones, G., Knörnschild, M., Lattenkamp, E. Z., Li, C. Z. & 14 others, Mayer, F., Reinhardt, J. A., Medellin, R. A., Nagy, M., Pope, B., Power, M. L., Ransome, R. D., Teeling, E. C., Vernes, S. C., Zamora-Mejías, D., Zhang, J., Faure, P. A., Greville, L. J. & Horvath, S., 12 Mar 2021, In: Nature Communications. 12, 13 p., 1615.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Six reference-quality genomes reveal evolution of bat adaptations

    Jebb, D., Huang, Z., Pippel, M., Hughes, G. M., Lavrichenko, K., Devanna, P., Winkler, S., Jermiin, L. S., Skirmuntt, E. C., Katzourakis, A., Burkitt-Gray, L., Ray, D. A., Sullivan, K. A. M., Roscito, J. G., Kirilenko, B. M., Dávalos, L. M., Corthals, A. P., Power, M. L., Jones, G., Ransome, R. D. & 9 others, Dechmann, D. K. N., Locatelli, A. G., Puechmaille, S. J., Fedrigo, O., Jarvis, E. D., Hiller, M., Vernes, S. C., Myers, E. W. & Teeling, E. C., 23 Jul 2020, In: Nature. 583, 7817, p. 578-584 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Vocal production learning in the pale spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor

    Lattenkamp, E. Z., Vernes, S. C. & Wiegrebe, L., 29 Apr 2020, In: Biology Letters. 16, 4, 5 p., 20190928.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Tissue Collection of Bats for -Omics Analyses and Primary Cell Culture

    Yohe, L. R., Devanna, P., Davies, K. T. J., Potter, J. H. T., Rossiter, S. J., Teeling, E. C., Vernes, S. C. & Dávalos, L. M., 23 Oct 2019, In: Journal of Visualized Experiments. 152

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. A taxonomy for vocal learning

    Tyack, P. L., Jan 2020, In: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 375, 1789, p. 1-10 10 p., 20180406.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  2. Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: evidence from a largescale study using brain potentials

    Nieuwland, M. S., Barr, D. J., Bartolozzi, F., Busch-Moreno, S., Darley, E., Donaldson, D. I., Ferguson, H. J., Fu, X., Heyselaar, E., Huettig, F., Husband, E. M., Ito, A., Kazanina, N., Kogan, V., Kohút, Z., Kulakova, E., Mézière, D., Politzer-Ahles, S., Rousselet, G., Rueschemeyer, S. A. & 3 others, Segaert, K., Tuomainen, J. & Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, S., 3 Feb 2020, In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 375, 1791, 20180522.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Scratching beneath the surface: intentionality in great ape signal production

    Graham, K. E., Wilke, C., Lahiff, N. J. & Slocombe, K. E., 6 Jan 2020, In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 375, 1789, 20180403.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  4. Is primate tool use special? Chimpanzee and new caledonian crow compared

    McGrew, W. C., 13 Nov 2013, In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 368, 1630

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

ID: 272110321

Top