Posted in biology, communication and networking, music

It’s official: girl mice dig new tunes

A couple of years ago everyone got really excited to learn that male mice will sing ultrasonic songs. The scientists assumed it was to woo mice women, but now they’ve proven it to be true!

From the New York Times:

Kurt Hammerschmidt of the German Primate Center in Göttingen and colleagues have provided a partial answer to that question. In a paper in Biology Letters, they report that male mice songs definitely elicit interest from the opposite sex.

The researchers exposed females to the recorded songs of males, to calls made by newborn pups and to control sounds. They found that the females responded only to the males’ songs, by approaching the source of the sound.

But Dr. Hammerschmidt said there were some surprises in the data. Females became habituated to the male songs very quickly, and only responded the first time they heard the sounds.

Dr. Hammerschmidt said that this may be because the songs are important only when males are close by. So if a female hears a song but then doesn’t actually see a mate, she may lose interest.

If the females lose interest after the first time they heard the song, I assume the male mice would have to come up with new songs all the time. Wow, now wouldn’t that be an interesting study to see how creative male mice get with their songs?



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.