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November 04, 2005|By BLOOMBERG NEWS SERVICE

Male mice sing - perhaps, of love

Far above the range of human hearing, male mice are warbling what may be love songs that are remarkably birdlike, according to a study in this week's Public Library of Science Biology journal.

Excited by the scent of a female, each of the laboratory-bred minstrels has a signature ultrasonic song, said lead author Timothy Holy. The black mice join humans, whales and bats in the small group of mammals that sing, researchers said.

While Mickey Mouse has his own discography, this is the first time songs have been identified in real mice. The scientists said they found "unexpected richness, including several syllable types organized into phrases and motifs."

"It suggests that there are more interesting aspects to their behavior than we had thought," said Holy, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Washington University in St. Louis. "It was when I heard the pitch-shifted recording that I recognized the pattern."

To listen to the tunes, visit http:--mednews.wustl.edu/news/page/norma l/6040.html

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