Koalas’ loud noises made by human-style voice boxesSeptember 29th, 2011 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS
London, Sep 29 (IANS) Male koalas bellow during the mating season because their voice boxes are similar to those of humans.
The cute and furry tree-dwelling creature, a marsupial, weighing about seven kg, is as loud as a cow weighing more than a tonne, a study has found.
Researchers discovered the marsupial emitted a louder sound as a way of attracting sexual partners during mating season, The Journal of Experimental Biology reports.
The team of Australian and Austrian researchers also found their cries were a way of boasting about their body size and intimidating rival lovers, according to the Telegraph.
Using medical imaging, they discovered the sounds were louder because their larynx had “descended” and sat deeper in their throat and chest than other species.
This was similar to human development because as a person grows up, the larynx also becomes lower, and deeper, as more complex language and speech is learnt.
“A lot of times people, in the bush might hear a koala calling…you have this cute fluffy animal but on the other hand (hear) this booming voice which jolts them a bit,” said study co-author Bill Ellis.
“There are some interesting parallels in the structure of the actual vocal tract. This descendant of larynx koalas have is similar to that in some of the big cats but also in humans.”
“In adult humans we have really complex speech we should expect that similarly in koalas - it might be complex as well.”
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Tags: adult humans, austrian researchers, big cats, co author, descendant, jolts, journal of experimental biology, koala, koalas, larynx, loud noises, marsupial, mating season, medical imaging, parallels, sexual partners, style voice, tree dwelling, vocal tract, voice boxes