Tiny Tarsiers Talk in High-Pitched Code
The Philippine tarsier is a tiny primate with a seriously high voice. The saucer-eyed mammal can let out (and listen to) squeaks and squeals at such a high frequency that it effectively gives the mammal a private communication channel.
A team of researchers found that the tiny tarsier can hear and emit sounds in the ultrasound range â€” thatâ€™s above 20 kHz. Most humans canâ€™t hear in that range, and a dog whistle is pitched to be just inside ultrasound, somewhere between 22 and 23 kHz. A handful of mammals can make sounds in this range â€” some whales, domestic cats and a few species of bats â€” but few can match the Philippine tarsier. In the paper, the researchers explain that, â€œultrasonic alarm calls can be advantageous to both the signaller and receiver as they are potentially difficult for predators to detect and localise.â€ Being able to hear in high ranges might let them eavesdrop on noises made by moths, crickets and birds.