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Research Paper

December 29, 2015

Research findings indicate that pitch perception evolved in primate monkeys

Primate share ability to distiquish pitchThe ability to perceive the sound quality known as “pitch” can no longer be listed as unique to humans. Johns Hopkins researchers — including auditory neuroscientist and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Xiaoqin Wang — report new behavioral evidence that marmoset monkeys, with a hearing range similar to that of humans, appear to use auditory cues similar to humans to distinguish between low and high notes.

The discovery infers that aspects of pitch perception may have evolved more than 40 million years ago to enable vocal communication and songlike vocalizations.

The research paper, Complex pitch perception mechanisms are shared by humans and a New World monkey, was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Learn more