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BirdNote: Speech And Birdsong - The Genetics Of Vocal Learning

Lansing Wild Birds Unlimited

Some birds are born with the ability to sing. Others learn to sing while they're young — just like humans, who must learn to speak.

It turns out that vocal learning in songbirds and humans may have more in common than anyone suspected. Recent DNA research reveals that songbirds and humans share a set of roughly 50 genes that appear crucial to vocal learning.

And it's possible that because scientists now understand the genetic similarities between speech and birdsong learning, they can use that insight to study human speech acquisition in new ways.