Bats Have A Better Vocal Range Than Mariah Carey: Study

You can guarantee Carey a tune.

A new study suggests bats are the animal kingdom’s “death metal singers” and have a better vocal range than pop singer Mariah Carey.

According to the study published in the journal PLOS Biology, bats can have a vocal range of up to seven octaves — twice that of a normal human.

“Most mammals have a range of three to four [octaves]and humans about three,” said lead author of the bat study, Professor Coen Elemans from the University of Southern Denmark. “Some human singers can reach a range of four to five, but that’s very few.”

“Well-known examples include Mariah Carey, Axl Rose and Prince,” Elemans said. “It turns out that bats outperform this area by using different structures in their larynx.”

Elemans said these nocturnal animals use high-frequency sounds when communicating with each other.

According to the professor, death metal singers use the same technique as bats to create sounds.

“We have identified for the first time which physical structures in the larynx vibrate to produce their different vocalizations,” explained Elemans.

"Most mammals have a range of 3-4 and humans around 3. Some human singers can reach a range of 4-5, but they are very few," said lead author Professor Coen Elemans.
“Most mammals have a range of three to four [octaves], and people about three. Some human singers can reach a range of four to five, but that’s very few,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Coen Elemans.
Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

“For example, bats can use their so-called ‘false vocal folds’ to make low-frequency calls – just like human death metal singers do.”

Death metal, a subgenre of heavy metal, often features guttural vocals and thunderous percussion. In order to produce the harsh-sounding noises associated with music, humans must oscillate their vocal cords back and forth.

According to the professor, bats use the same technique as death metal singers to create sounds.
According to the professor, bats use the same technique as death metal singers to create sounds.

“This makes the vocal folds heavy and therefore vibrates at very low frequencies,” says study author Jonas Håkansson.

The sounds made by bats are also similar to those made by throat warblers. Throat singing is an ancient tradition practiced by the people of Tuva, a small republic in southern Siberia. These throat singers can produce two or more pitches at once.

The study states that bats use the lower register when flying in and out of large flocks.

“Some [sounds] appear aggressive, some can be an expression of anger, and some have a completely different function. We don’t know yet,” said co-author and bat expert Lasse Jakobsen.

Jakobsen added that when a bat is looking for food, it uses a higher frequency to locate prey. Humans were supposedly once able to hit the higher frequency but lost the ability due to evolution.

“A bat can determine the shape, size and texture of reverberating objects within milliseconds,” explains Jakobsen.

“We see many adaptations in the larynx that we think are responsible for bats being able to emit high-frequency calls very quickly, allowing them to catch insects while flying,” Håkansson said.

https://nypost.com/2022/11/29/bats-have-a-better-vocal-range-than-mariah-carey-study/ Bats Have A Better Vocal Range Than Mariah Carey: Study

Emma Bowman

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