Wildlife

Sleep Singing Finches

Argentine researchers have found that zebra finches seem to be practicing their songs while they sleep without actually making a sound.

It’s long been known that the birds’ brains spontaneously reproduce the same patterns in their sleep that they use when singing during the day. But scientists from the University of Buenos Aires have found that the finches’ vocal muscles are also moving during their avian slumber.

The only thing keeping the tiny birds from actually singing while sleeping is the absence of an air flow through their throats. Scientists think the sleep “singing” may be how the birds learn new songs or keep their existing tunes stable.

Primates in Peril

Roughly half of the orangutans living on Borneo have disappeared over the past 16 years due to hunting and vast destruction of their habit.

Researchers say much of the loss of 100,000 of the island’s orangutans is due to logging operations that clear the land to make way for palm plantations and mining.

Field researcher Serge Wich says targeted killings and other direct conflicts between the orangutans and humans are pushing the primates beyond their well-known ability to adapt to a changing landscape.

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