(ETX Daily Up) – Bats have developed extraordinary skills to survive. One of them concerns their communication system. These animals are much more talkative than one would imagine, and even have a vocal register similar to that of heavy metal singers.
At least that’s what a study recently published in the journal PLOS Biology confirms. Coen Elemans and his colleagues from the University of Southern Denmark explain that bats have a rich communication system. They have a vocal range of seven octaves, which is significantly greater than those of most mammals.
These nocturnal animals emit sounds to perceive their environment and find food in total darkness, but also to express themselves. All these cries vary between 1 and 120 kilohertz, which is extremely rare, not to say unheard of, within the fauna.
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have found that bats are able to produce such a wide range of sounds by using thick structures in their larynx called ventricular folds. It was while watching high-speed videos of the vocal cords of these small mammals in action that they noticed that these vocal folds allow them to produce grunts in extremely low frequencies. If they have no equal in the animal kingdom, these low sounds are reminiscent of those produced by certain heavy metal singers or throat singing specialists such as the khöömii. “If you listen to a colony of bats in the summer, you can hear these calls very distinctly,” Professor Coen Elemans told The Guardian. “We don’t know their function, but [les chauves-souris] emit them when they are annoyed by their congeners, or when they fly away and join a colony”.
Scientists hypothesize that bats produce such low-pitched vocalizations to distinguish them from the ultrasounds they emit to locate prey or find their way when they cannot rely on sight. “We think the selection on these echolocation calls is so severe that for bats to have range to communicate, they have to do something radically different,” Professor Coen Elemans explained to the British daily.