A study in the Journal of Animal Ecology shows that reproductive success in male rock hyraxes is related to their ability to maintain rhythm.
If you look at the fans of famous musicians, you'll see that being rhythmically skilled is a desirable trait. Male rock hyraxes can be seen as indicators of individual quality by potential mates because of their singing frequencies and rhythm.
The Department of Biology at the University of Konstanz and the Max has been studying hyraxes for the past 20 years and have found several patterns in their songs.
People living close to each other sing similar to each other because of their regional dialects. They tend to sing louder as the song goes on and reach a peak complexity towards the end of their songs.
Animals communicate using rhythm. One assumption is that rhythm has evolved so that animals that call in groups can better harmonize their songs.
Unlike other animals, hyraxes sing alone.
Scientists observed the daily morning activity of hyrax communities in the Ein Gedi Natural Reserve in eastern Israel to investigate the role of rhythm in mammals' courting songs. Information about each hyrax's location, behavior, and vocalizations were captured by the researchers. Audio recordings from the lab were used to analyze genetic information for each hyrax.
The researchers found that hyrax males keep a stable isochronous rhythm while singing.
According to Dr. Lee Koren, male hyraxes that sing more frequently have more surviving offspring. Information about individual quality can be found in song rhythms and stability.
The ability of hyraxes to produce precise, rhythmic calls may be affected by certain diseases, so the researchers suggest that male hyrax courtship song rhythm is an indicator of health and suitability as mates to prospective female partners.
It would be fascinating to compare animal species that sing in different ways.
Rhythm has been shown to help coordinate signals from different individuals within a group. It is not known if different patterns are used for these functions.More information: Male rock hyraxes that maintain an isochronous song rhythm achieve higher reproductive success, Journal of Animal Ecology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.1380 Journal information: Journal of Animal Ecology