Do Zebra finches teach their eggs how to cope with climate change?

22 August 2016 - 16:35 By Bruce Gorton

A new study appears to show that the Zebra finch's song can physically alter how its chicks develop.In a lot of species embryos have been found to be able to perceive external sounds – for example researchers had previously found that superb fairy-wren embryos could tell the difference between their parents’ calls‚ and those of other species.According to a new study in Science‚ when it gets hotter than 26 degrees Celsius‚ Zebra finch parents start singing while in their nests.Mylene Mariette‚ a behavioural ecologist at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds‚ Australia‚ thought that they may in fact be singing to their chicks.In order to test this‚ scientists incubated 166 eggs‚ and exposed them to either the incubation calls or their parents’ normal contact calls.What they found was that the chicks exposed to the incubation calls as eggs‚ grew slower and smaller – which is an advantage in hot weather because it is easier to keep a smaller body cool.Science Mag has produced a video explaining the research’s findings:You can also read more about the research on ScienceMag...

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