Animal speech shows similarities to human language

first_imgKiller whales whistle, finches twitter, and hyraxes wail. But all of these sounds have long been considered fundamentally different from human language—indeed, so different that scientists haven’t been able to find any intermediate evolutionary steps between animal calls and language. Now, a new study reveals that the calls of animals contain more languagelike characteristics than previously believed. Scientists reached this conclusion after analyzing the vocal sequences of seven species of birds and mammals, from Carolina chickadees to bats and orangutans. They found that animal vocalizations must be generated by complex statistical processes, making them more similar to human language. In the past, researchers assumed that a “Markovian” model best explained the vocal sequences in animal calls. According to this model, animal calls are fairly random and lack the complexity of human language. However, no one had actually tested the Markovian model on animal vocalizations until now. After applying it to the various species’ calls, the researchers report this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B that they found no evidence that animals’ vocalizations are restricted as the model would suggest. And that means the gap between human language and animal calls is not so wide after all.last_img read more

Prices Sales Remain Hot as Summer Starts

first_img Prices shot up in May even as for-sale inventory showed signs of recovery, according to “”Redfin’s””: Real-Time Price Tracker.[IMAGE]The monthly report follows home prices, sales, and inventory across 19 U.S. markets and is based on local databases used by Redfin agents.According to the brokerage’s findings, home prices came in 4.3 percent higher month-over-month and 17.4 percent higher year-over-year in May (to a median $208 per square foot). Eighteen of the 19 markets measured by Redfin saw monthly improvement in prices (Austin being the exception), and all 19 reported yearly increases.Once again, the West proved strongest, with Sacramento, San Francisco, and Las Vegas posting the largest year-over-year price gains: 39.0 percent, 34.7 percent, and 32.5 percent, respectively.Home sales also spiked between April and May, climbing 15.8 percent monthly and 13.7 percent yearly to their highest level since Redfin began compiling the data in January 2010. Fourteen of the 19 markets tracked reported an increase in sales from a year ago, and all 19 saw sales volume rise on a monthly basis.With sales typically peaking in June, Redfin expects another increase in its next report, followed by a tapering off through the rest of the year.The report was released on the same day as the company’s “”special inventory report””:, which showed the number of active listings grew for the second straight month in May. Inventory was still down 22 percent year-over-year, however.””May’s housing market has good news for everyone,”” said Redfin researcher Tim Ellis. “”There are some early signs that the market may be cooling slightly, but for now things are still hot.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing June 18, 2013 443 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies For-Sale Homes Home Prices Home Sales Home Values Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Redfin Service Providers 2013-06-18 Tory Barringercenter_img Prices, Sales Remain Hot as Summer Starts Sharelast_img read more