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EPJ D – Phase equations describe birdsongs

maltese canary
Image from Photo.com: 95825077 – maltese canary

The air sac pressure patterns used by domestic canaries during song were analyzed by a group of Argentinean statistical physicists in terms of phase equations.

Many motor patterns in biology are surprisingly simple, particularly taking into account that they are generated by thousands of neurons operating in a non-synchronous regime. For example, during song domestic canaries generate periodic fluctuations in their air sac pressure for uttering different syllables. Each time the air sac pressure exceeds a threshold value, a syllable is uttered. Yet, the different pressure pulses are not arbitrary. The particular shapes of the time series data coincide with the solutions of a low dimensional dynamical system.

Inspired by this finding, the authors address the general issue of the emergence of low dimensional, non trivial dynamics out of large, complex interacting units. The analysis suggests a new mechanism for dimensionality reduction in the dynamics of complex systems.

Click here to read the full article by L.M. Alonso et al., Eur. Phys. J. D (2010).

L. Baudis, G. Dissertori, K. Skenderis and D. Zeppenfeld
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Tim Scanlon

ISSN: 1434-6044 (Print Edition)
ISSN: 1434-6052 (Electronic Edition)

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