A new study has shown that baby seals have a wide range of vocal talents.
While many animals have some vocal talents, researchers found that seal pups can change both volume, which is common, and pitch. The ability to change pitch in response to their environment is rare in the animal kingdom and shows that seals have a well-developed acoustical sense.
The team also found that when presented with rhythmic sounds of other seals, they paid far more attention to fast tempos and regular rhythms.
The research is the work of Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics scientist Andrea Ravignani who said about his work:
“Seals may have this capacity due to convergent evolution: vocal plasticity may be a trait which evolved independently in multiple lineages due to similar evolutionary pressures…For the case of humans and seals, plasticity and vocal learning may be associated with either advanced breathing control or singing abilities in both species. We can conclude that very young and untrained seals can discriminate between other seals’ vocalization based on their rhythmic properties… Another mammal, apart from us, shows rhythm processing and vocalization learning; perhaps these two skills coevolved in both humans and seals.”