Naked mole rat colonies have their own unique accents, according to new study

Science News

There is always fascinating new research coming out about naked mole rats – and here’s the latest!

Similar to people, different mole rat colonies have something like “accents” or “dialects” that distinguish them from other groups, as reported by New Scientist.

In this new study, Alison Barker at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany recorded more than 36,000 greeting calls from 166 naked mole rats in seven colonies raised in labs in Germany and South Africa.

Among their findings? A machine-learning algorithm could identify the unique features of the mole rats’ chirps – including pitch, peak frequency, and duration – to identify individual mole rats as well as which colonies the mole rats belonged to.

The naked mole rats were also more likely to respond to recordings of their own dialect than to other dialects.

This may be the first time that cultural transmission of dialect has been seen in small rodents, according to Barker.

Come hear the unique chirps of Liberty Science Center’s naked mole rat colony on your next visit! They live on the third floor in our Wild About Animals exhibition.

More News