Small Furry Hyrax Sings in Regional Dialects

Foundations of complex language have been found in colonies of unusual furry animals called hyraxes.

Hyraxes, which resemble rodents but are more closely related to elephants or manatees, often cluck, snort, squeak, tweet and wail songs from the perches of their rocky colonies.

By recording hundreds of the animals’ songs and applying clever mathematics, researchers discovered that differences in note arrangement, or syntax, in hyrax songs vary as the distance increases between colonies — a surprising occurrence of dialect — via

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