Singing Mice Are Helping Scientists Study How the Brain Controls Conversation

The Alston’s singing mouse, found in Costa Rica, is helping scientists understand the brain and how it controls conversation, according to a new study published by New York University’s School of Medicine on Thursday. The research revealed that when two male Alston’s singing mice meet—usually when one is trying to crash the other’s home—they sing a high-pitched “duet” to stake their claim. By studying this back-and-forth song, researchers have identified a brain circuit that might also be responsible for high-speed human repartee. This insight could help better understand the causes of speech disorders, like those associated with autism, according to the study.