"Our research suggests that producing really complex song relies on the ability of the songbirds' brains to direct complicated changes in combinations of muscles," said Samuel Sober, biologist at the Emory University in Georgia, US.

There is no single muscle devoted to controlling pitch in a songbird, the research revealed.

Birds have a vocal organ called the syrinx, which holds their vocal cords deeper in their bodies. While humans have one set of vocal cords, a songbird has two sets, enabling it to produce two different sounds simultaneously, in harmony with itself.

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


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