These lemurs have a rhythm.The scientist has a problem

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Indy is Lemur, a primate with opposite thumbs; a short tail; round, tufted, teddy bear-like ears. They share a branch of the evolutionary tree with humans, but our paths diverged about 60 million years ago. Nevertheless, a very striking similarity remains: Indris is one of the few mammals that can sing. Family groups sang in chorus on the treetops of their rainforest home in Madagascar; their voices rang miles away. These songs – described by the biologist Andrea Ravignani as sounding like a mix of jazz trumpeter improvisations, humpback whales and screams – are also created by humans. Apart from songs, the only song composed of regular and predictable rhythms.

In fact, the indri rhythm can be identical Lavignani, who studies bioacoustics at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, says that this is human rhythm.He is a member of an international research team Recent papers exist Current biology He was the first to record the rhythm of a lemur.

Analyzing how and when lemur songs use rhythmic structure can help researchers understand the musicality of humans, whose evolutionary purpose remains a mystery. Features such as color vision, bipedal walking, and prolonged infancy are all attributed to evolutionary pressures that favor people with certain genes. But music that is so common in human culture cannot be explained. “As a music lover, I am fascinated by the beauty of music,” Lavignani said. “As a biologist, I am puzzled why we still haven’t found the answer when so many other things in human evolution are so obvious.”

The origin of rhythm-even the term itself-has been difficult to determine. “There is no universally accepted definition,” said Anirrudh Patel, a cognitive psychologist at Tufts University, who was not involved in lemur research. He pointed out that rhythm is often confused with beat. Both are potential driving forces, allowing you to move your hips or snap your fingers in time with the music. But the two are not always synonymous. Think of the Gregorian chant, it has no beat but still has a rhythm. Although beats are usually isochronous, steady pulses, rhythm is the relationship between events such as notes, clicks, or drum beats.

Patel defines rhythm as the systematic arrangement of events in time.This includes everything from the oompah-pah notes of polka dance to the composing of the organ by John Cage2/ASLSP (as slow as possible), expected to require sustained performance 639 years, Where the notes are separated by years of silence.

For decades, scientists have believed that perceiving rhythm is an obvious human ability, until the snowball, a parrot and YouTube star, Appeared on the scene in his way in 2007. Backstreet Boys, Queen, and Michael JacksonWhen Patel saw these clips, he immediately took Snowball to his laboratory and began experimenting to see if the dances were coincidences, or if the bird could really discern the rhythm in the song. Patel’s research Show that this is not accidental. When his team speeds up or slows down the music, Snowball will change his actions to match.

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