A white-handed gibbon looks up at the White House Press Corps during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii

Don Gibboni: Opera Apes

Some people think Opera is just monkeying around on stage, and they may be right:

The small apes use the same technique to project their songs through the forests of southeast Asia as top sopranos singing at the New York Metropolitan Opera or La Scala in Milan.

I’m not going to say anything. I value my life.

That was the conclusion of research by Japanese scientists who tested the effect of helium gas on gibbon calls to see how their singing changed when their voices sounded abnormally high-pitched.

Just like professional singers, the experiment found the animals were able to amplify the higher sounds by adjusting the shape of their vocal tract, including the mouth and tongue.

It is a skill only mastered by a few humans, yet gibbons are able to do it with minimal effort, according to Takeshi Nishimura from the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University.

Via Reuters

 

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