Birds found in Africa whose songs have not changed for millions of years

(ORDO NEWS) — We all know how annoying some annoying tunes can be. Now imagine that the song is stuck in your head for a million years! As it turned out, this happened to some East African birds!

How do you get a stuck song out of your head?!

This conclusion was reached by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, USA, who studied isolated populations of blue-tie sunbirds living high in the mountains.

It is traditionally believed that bird song changes as the melodies are transmitted from individual to individual, as in a “deaf phone”. However, as the new study team explained, this is mostly the case for birds native to the Northern Hemisphere.

Over the past few tens of thousands of years, these species have experienced highly variable environmental conditions as glaciers come and go. This contributed to various evolutionary changes affecting not only singing, but also their plumage and even mating behavior.

However, bird populations living in isolation on the forested peaks of East Africa are in more static conditions. The authors of the new study found that the songs of mountain birds have not changed over time, and it appears that they undergo long periods of stagnation.

This is interesting, because if you isolate people of the same language group, their dialects will change after a while, so you can find out who comes from where. However, this does not happen with birds in East Africa!

As part of the new work, scientists visited 15 mountain peaks between 2007 and 2011 and recorded the songs of 123 individual birds (six different lineages of the blue-tie sunbird). They all live in different regions, isolated from each other.

The researchers found that the differences in bird songs appear to have no connection with how long each individual population has been separated from the others, which is determined by differences in their DNA profiles.

For example, two long-separated species were found to have almost the same songs, while two other species that were isolated from each other much later had very different melodies.


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