News Round-Up

Primate voice boxes are evolving at rapid pace

Source: aru.ac.uk

Study is largest ever investigation into evolution of larynges across species

Scientists have discovered that the larynx, or voice box, of primates is significantly larger relative to body size, has greater variation, and is under faster rates of evolution than in other mammals.

Published in the journal PLOS Biology and led by academics from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), Stanford University, and the University of Vienna, the research is the first large-scale study into the evolution of the larynx.

The larynx has three main functions: protecting the airway during feeding, regulating the supply of air to the lungs, and vocal communication. Because of its important role in facilitating social behaviour, through vocalisation, it has long been believed that the larynx is a key area of evolution, particularly in species with highly developed vocal communication systems. MORE