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The role of nonlinear dynamics of the syrinx in the vocalizations of a songbird

Fee, Michale S. and Shraiman, Boris and Pesaran, Bijan and Mitra, Partha P. (1998) The role of nonlinear dynamics of the syrinx in the vocalizations of a songbird. Nature, 395 (6697). pp. 67-71. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/25725.

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Birdsong is characterized by the modulation of sound properties over a wide range of timescales. Understanding the mechanisms by which the brain organizes this complex temporal behaviour is a central motivation in the study of the song control and learning system. Here we present evidence that, in addition to central neural control, a further level of temporal organization is provided by nonlinear oscillatory dynamics that are intrinsic to the avian vocal organ. A detailed temporal and spectral examination of song of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) reveals a class of rapid song modulations that are consistent with transitions in the dynamical state of the syrinx. Furthermore, in vitro experiments show that the syrinx can produce a sequence of oscillatory states that are both spectrally and temporally complex in response to the slow variation of respiratory or syringeal parameters. As a consequence, simple variations in a small number of neural signals can result in a complex acoustic sequence.

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Additional Information:© 1998 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Received 8 May; accepted 29 June 1998. We thank W. Denk, M. Konishi and S. S.-H. Wang for comments on the manuscript.
Issue or Number:6697
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150609-101850753
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58107
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Jun 2015 17:28
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:59

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