Brains and birdsong
Scientists have a come a long way in their studies of brains and birdsong. The discovery of new neurons in the adult brain has revolutionary implications for medical science. The molecular biology of vocal learning is helpful in understanding genetic mechanisms of behavior, and in resolving the great mystery of how vocal learning evolved. Some areas as yet unexplored include the study of vocal brain areas in the other mammalian vocal learners, cetaceans, and bats. The extensive knowledge we now have about vocal learning in birds may provide a useful guide on how best to approach the study of these mammalian vocal learners, though cetaceans will always be a challenge. New techniques may emerge for exploring brain connectivity and behaviorally-driven gene expression in human brains in an ethically responsible manner, though it is not yet clear how best to proceed. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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