Here's a discovery to really confuse kindergarten kids who are learning animal noises. Birds sing and mice squeak...until now. Japanese scientists have produced a mouse that tweets like a bird, the AFP reports.
Researchers at the University of Osaka are cross-breeding genetically modified mice to explore evolutionary traits for their "Evolved Mouse Project." When the scientists found one mouse "singing like a bird," they realized the trait could be passed on to future generations. Now, the laboratory has over 100 tweeting (no, not on Twitter) mice.
The scientists hope to better understand the evolution of the human language by studying these mice. They are watching to see if the mice emit different sounds when placed in various social situations.
Other researchers are conducting mouse studies to answer a wide range of questions. For example, gene mutations in mice are being studied by various researchers to understand Parkinson's disease, Depression, Autism, and many other conditions.
As for language, mice are certainly not the first animal whose communication system has been scrutinized by scientists. It seems that elephants rumble to keep their group in contact, hyenas laugh to establish a hierarchy, and dolphins attempt a "common language" when communicating between species.
You can watch the video of a mouse tweeting by clicking this link. Regarding the mouse study, we just hope that next there won't be birds squeaking like mice. Because that would be annoying.