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Bats so brainy like humans? Yes, Female bats more adept at it: Study

Pteronotus parnellii.jpg

mustached bat (wikipedia.org)

Humans are not the onlye ones to use both sides of the brain to differentiate the sound waves coming from different directions but even bats have that capability, say researchers.

Scientists from the Georgetown University Medical Center and American University found the mustached bats using both the left and right sides of their brains to process sounds.

This is something amazing for these researchers who said till date not even monkeys or apes possessed this ability for sound processing — meaning that the left brain is better at processing fast sounds, and the right processing slow ones.

“The findings open a pathway to study bat brains in order to understand certain human language disorders and potentially even improving computer speech recognition,” said Stuart Washington, who is confident that it would make evolutionary sense.

“The slower timing of the right hemisphere may allow us to identify who is speaking to gauge their emotional state via tone-of-voice and to tease out pitch in music that can ultimately lead to the formation of cultures,” he said hoping to probe why humans evolved this asymmetry in their brains.

But for mustached bats, it ws a must. They need to use the fast timing of the left hemisphere to distinguish communication sounds from each other, as these sounds have rapid changes in frequency.Lest, they cannot communicate with other bats.

“The bats also need to use the slow timing of the right hemisphere to use sonar – which relies on detecting small changes in frequency – to track the velocity of the fast-moving insects they fly after and eat,” Washington said.

Another feature was that the asymmetric sampling in bats varies from males to females. Males have more asymmetry than females, just like humans too, he said.

Women tend to use both the left and right hemispheres for language but men largely use just the left hemisphere and of course, slow learners of foreign languages.

The finding has been published in the journal Frontiers of Neuroscience.

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