The BBC reports on a simple device that can mimic the songs of a variety bird species. The device is simply a rubber recreation of a bird's vocal tract which you blow through, modulated by a motor which acts as a single muscle controlling the sound. The simplicity of the device calls into question prevailing theories about the neurological complexity required in birds to produce sophisticated songs – suggesting that it could be simpler than previously thought. Obviously the experiment is not conclusive, but it throws interesting new light on the topic.

Oh and happy new year!

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