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Mice use higher pitches when communicating with the opposite sex

Baby-talk is a common (and cringe-worthy) tendency that people use when talking to pets, children, and even their partners.

According to a new study, it turns out that we aren’t the only species to employ a specialized way of talking to a prospective mate or our partner, as mice also use different calls and sounds when talking to a member of the opposite sex.

The sounds have been compared to bird songs, as mice emit vocalizations at higher frequencies when they sense a mate is near.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology and published in the journal PLOS One.

The study was based on the vocalizations of first generation house mice which means their parents came from the wild.

The researchers were able to get a more authentic feel for how mice would communicate with each other in their natural habitats rather than if the mouse subjects had come from generations of lab-raised mice.

Mice often emit vocalizations that are too high to be audible to humans, but these calls are an essential part of mouse interactions. Mice use different vocalizations when they recognize a familiar face, if they wish to intimidate a rival mouse, and also to attract a mate.

Previous research has even found that male mice sing a kind of love song to potential mates and each song is different based on the mouse making the sounds.

For this recent study, the researchers were curious to see how vocalizations differed when the mice were interacting with mice of the same and opposite sex.

20 males and 20 females were observed interacting for ten minute periods, and their vocalizations were recorded.

The study shows that mice, like birds, specifically employ different vocalizations at higher frequencies when communicating with a potential mate and could help future research examining animal interactions.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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