New Research Suggests Birds Do Dream, And Scientists Were Even Able To Translate The Vocal Muscle Activity Of Birds During Slumber Into A Synthetic Song For The Very First Time

Petr Šimon - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual bird

We know that dogs and cats dream, but do birds? The answer is yes! For the first time ever, researchers have translated the vocal muscle activity of birds while they’re sleeping into a synthetic song.

The findings have helped experts gain a better understanding of the avian brain and hinted at what birds might dream about.

A team of researchers from the University of Buenos Aires chose two wild, great kiskadees for their study. The species is found throughout South America, Central America, and some areas in Mexico and Texas.

The bird has been described as aggressive and boisterous. It is known for its three-syllable call that sounds like “kis-ka-dee,” which is how it got its name. Kiskadees also have yellow feathers covering their bellies; brown wings tinged with orange, and black and white faces.

The scientists used surgically implanted electrodes to monitor the birds’ muscle activity while they were sleeping and awake. Around 100 instances of muscle activity related to singing were recorded.

The team then used the data to create a model that predicted which types of muscle activity would make each sound.

Afterward, they were able to use the model to produce a synthetic song that resembled the noises that kiskadees make when they’re fighting over territory.

When the scientists reviewed video footage of the sleeping bird, they saw that the feathers on its head were raised, which is a behavior that would occur during a territorial confrontation with a rival in the daytime.

According to Gabriel Mindlin, a co-author of the study and a biophysicist at the University of Buenos Aires, the bird may have been having a bad dream.

Petr Šimon – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual bird

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