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November 16, 2020 - Phys.org

Zebra finches found able to remember up to 42 birds based on their vocalizations

Zebra finches found able to remember up to 42 birds based on their vocalizations
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A trio of researchers at the University of California has found that zebra finches are able to remember up to 42 bird voices based only on their vocalizations. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, K. Yu, W. E. Wood and F. E. Theunissen describe experiments they conducted with captive zebra finches and what they learned about their memory abilities.

Prior research has shown that humans have what is known as "fast mapping"—the ability to recognize an association between things after very little exposure—recognizing someone's voice after a single conversation, for example. Prior research has suggested that fast mapping might be uniquely human. In this new effort, the researchers in California conducted experiments with zebra finches that challenge that notion.

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