Developmental determinants of structure in zebra finch song

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Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) possess highly organized species-uniform song structure. The present author explored song determinants by a series of 5 studies in which a total of 85 young Ss were (a) reared in social contact with zebra finch adults, (b) reared in isolation from adult song, (c) deafened early in life, (d) tutored by zebra finch males they could not see, or (e) tutored with sounds other than zebra finch song. The main song determinants appear to be (a) learning, which probably determines song structure accurately for a limited number of generations; (b) inherited neuromotor constraints that specify basic temporal patterning within song; and (c) infusion of developmentally conservative calls and noncall isolate note types into song. Limitations on song development imposed by effector organs are relatively permissive, and the role of inherited auditory specifications (template) is uncertain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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