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Sometimes animals make mistakes while communicating. In a paper recently published by the scientific journal The American Naturalist, an international research team which includes CIBIO-InBIO researchers Gonçalo Cardoso and André C. Ferreira, shows that these “mistakes” are informative and may be used by other animals to make important decisions, such as figuring out with whom to mate.


An example of this “mistake maker” is the dark-eyed junco, a North American sparrow. In this study, the team of researchers found that singing with fewer “mistakes” is related to aspects of male quality, like age and experience. According to Gonçalo Cardoso, coordinator of the study, “males with fewer mistakes in their songs fertilize more eggs, which suggests that females pay attention to these details when it comes to decide with which male to mate”. Identifying communication “mistakes” may thus indicate the quality or skills of individuals, which is a new mechanism in our understanding of animal communication.


This mechanism may be particularly significant for species that evolved simple and repetitive signals, since mistakes are easier to identify in this kind of messages.


To know more about this topic, please follow the links below:
Pardais que cantam menos erros fertilizam mais ovos e são mais admirados por fêmeas” | Diário Digital | July 14, 2016 (Information available in Portuguese)

"E não é que as aves também dão “erros”?" | Wilder | July 15, 2016 (Information available in Portuguese)


To read the international press release for this study, please click here and to read the national version, please click here.

To access the original article, please click here.

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