Aug 21, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Baby bats babble like human infants, study finds

Picture of a bat
A greater sac-winged bat, or what you may begin to think your crying baby looks like after you've been up all night. Photo: Michael Stifter

A new study found striking similarities between the babbling sounds of infants and those of baby greater sac-winged bats.

Why it matters: In both cases, babbling seems to have evolved as a precursor to more complex vocal behaviors like talking in humans and "singing" in adult bats.

How it works: While the bats' babbling doesn't sound much like human infants — unless your baby also produces high-pitched chirping tones, in which case you may want to contact your pediatrician or the Weekly World News — it has a similar rhythmic, non-random pattern.

What's next: Researchers hope the apparent similarities in infant babbling across species may eventually reveal common genes for vocalization.

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