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Data from: Harmonic calls and indifferent females: no preference for human consonance in an anuran

Citation

Akre, Karin L.; Bernal, Ximena; Rand, A. Stanley; Ryan, Michael J. (2014), Data from: Harmonic calls and indifferent females: no preference for human consonance in an anuran, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c2vm2

Abstract

The human music faculty might have evolved from rudimentary components that occur in non-human animals. The evolutionary history of these rudimentary perceptual features is not well understood and rarely extends beyond a consideration of vertebrates that possess a cochlea. One such antecedent is a preferential response to what humans perceive as consonant harmonic sounds, which are common in many animal vocal repertoires. We tested the phonotactic response of female túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus) to variations in the frequency ratios of their harmonically structured mating call to determine whether frequency ratio influences attraction to acoustic stimuli in this vertebrate that lacks a cochlea. We found that the ratio of frequencies present in acoustic stimuli did not influence female response. Instead, the amount of inner ear stimulation predicted female preference behaviour. We conclude that the harmonic relationships that characterize the vocalizations of these frogs did not evolve in response to a preference for frequency intervals with low-integer ratios. Instead, the presence of harmonics in their mating call, and perhaps in the vocalizations of many other animals, is more likely due to the biomechanics of sound production rather than any preference for ‘more musical’ sounds.

Usage Notes

Location

Panama