Scientists have found that many birds exhibit strikingly human-like musical principles in their songs—a revelation that may be difficult for evolutionists to explain. In a paper published in “Royal Society Open Science,” an international team of researchers share their findings from a thorough analysis of bird songs. The scientists focused on the singing performances of Australian pied butcherbirds, whose songs are so complex and skillful that even composers have taken notice.

“Their songs are ideal for studying regularity across levels of song structure because song units (notes, phrases) are both complex and easy to identify,” the scientists wrote in their report. “Butcherbird vocalizations can be similar in sound to a piping flute, a cornet or an organ and also have inspired composers (such as Olivier Messiaen), who have referred to timbre, contour, gesture, rhythm, repetition, scales and formal structure as meaningful parameters of butcherbird vocalizations.” READ MORE