Mice can ‘sing’ in harmony, study finds

Squeaking critters match their pitch to each other to impress females

Watch out next years’ contestants of Britain’s Got Talent – because scientific research has found that male mice can learn to sing in harmony to impress females.

Researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans found that when two different types of male mice were put together in a cage with a female, they gradually learned to match the pitch of their squeaks to sing in harmony, The Telegraph reports.

The study contradicts previous scientific thought that mice couldn’t adapt their voices in the same way humans, birds and bats can after it found neurons which lit up in their brains when they sing. Clearly, they’d never heard any Rastamouse tunes.

The findings could be useful to study the effects of diseases such as autism and anxiety disorders on people’s ability to communicate.

“We are claiming that mice have limited versions of the brain and behaviour traits for vocal learning that are found in humans for learning speech and in birds for learning song,” said Dr Erich Jarvis of Tulane University in New Orleans.

He added: “In mice, they don’t exist at the advanced levels found in humans and song-learning birds, but they also are not completely absent as commonly assumed.”