Bats distress vocalizations carry fast amplitude modulations that could represent an acoustic correlate of roughness

  • Communication sounds are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom, where they play a role in advertising physiological states and/or socio-contextual scenarios. Human screams, for example, are typically uttered in fearful contexts and they have a distinctive feature termed as “roughness”, which depicts amplitude fluctuations at rates from 30–150 Hz. In this article, we report that the occurrence of fast acoustic periodicities in harsh sounding vocalizations is not unique to humans. A roughness-like structure is also present in vocalizations emitted by bats (species Carollia perspicillata) in distressful contexts. We report that 47.7% of distress calls produced by bats carry amplitude fluctuations at rates ~1.7 kHz (>10 times faster than temporal modulations found in human screams). In bats, rough-like vocalizations entrain brain potentials and are more effective in accelerating the bats’ heart rate than slow amplitude modulated sounds. Our results are consistent with a putative role of fast amplitude modulations (roughness in humans) for grabbing the listeners attention in situations in which the emitter is in distressful, potentially dangerous, contexts.

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Author:Julio C. Hechavarria-CueriaORCiDGND, Marcel Jerome BeetzORCiDGND, Francisco García RosalesORCiDGND, Manfred KösslORCiD
Parent Title (German):Scientific Reports
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/04/30
Date of first Publication:2020/04/30
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/05/04
Issue:Article number 7332
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0