Jay Talking | The Institute for Creation Research
Jay Talking

The brains of birds are tiny, but many contain the right programming to make them the best talkers in the animal kingdom. In addition to the parrot’s talking skill set, a new study found that Siberian jays show “complex communication.”1 Why would a “lower” order of animal have this ability?

Jays sometimes gang up on owls and hawks, their primary predators, in an activity called “mobbing.” Uppsala University research on Siberian jays, slated to appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, investigated the specifics of how jays communicate when mobbing predators. The study found that these birds have “over 25 different vocalisations,” which combine to form “over a dozen different calls [while mobbing], some of which are specific for owls and other [sic] for hawks.”1

The university press release stated that “the only other animal species with a comparably rich vocabulary when mobbing predators are meerkats.” Study author Michael Griesser stated that his work with jays “supports the idea that the need to survive encounters with predators might have played an important role for the evolution of complex animal communication.”1

Or, it may not have. Many animals—including numerous reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals—have survived just fine without complex vocalization strategies. Thus, there was no survival-based need for mobbing vocalizations. There is not even a natural process whereby voice boxes and their neuromuscular control features and the necessary cognitive identification of particular sounds with their meanings can arise all by themselves.

If, on the other hand, certain creatures like Siberian jays were designed to make complex vocalizations in general, then they would be able to manifest their vocal talents when mobbing. Mobbing didn’t cause the development of vocalizations, but is just one activity in which jays exhibit their uniquely complex speech.

God made birds to be the best animal talkers not necessarily because they needed that ability to survive, but perhaps because it pleased Him to express His creativity in that manner.2 Then again, God may have omitted superior vocal skills from “higher” animals and given them to jays and other birds just to make it more obvious that humans, with their even greater complex communication, were specially created and are not descendants of any other animal.3

References

  1. Siberian jays use complex communication to mob predators. Uppsala University press release, June 8, 2009, reporting research published in Griesser, M. Mobbing calls signal predator category in a kin group-living bird species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, published online before print May 27, 2009.
  2. Revelation 4:11.
  3. Romans 1:20.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on June 29, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
Fossil Chromatin Looks Young
What are the odds that a buried animal would still have intact DNA after 125 million years? Researchers publishing in the journal Communications Biology...

NEWS
Inside October 2021 Acts & Facts
How is the Lord’s handiwork on display at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Does the universe look old? What can we learn about science and...

NEWS
Two-Volume Series: Restoring the Truth about Origins
The subject of origins continues to attract interest from the public and the scientific establishment. Understanding our origins informs us of who we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Floods Form Fossils Fast
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
A Battle for Hearts
Since the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opened in fall of 2019, tens of thousands of people have walked through our doors. They...

APOLOGETICS
Eating Bugs Isn't Always So Simple
The Lord Jesus Christ deserves glory for why He made Earth’s diverse creatures, and He also deserves glory for the complicated details of how...

ACTS & FACTS
Does the Universe Look Old?
Since distant galaxies are billions of light-years away, some understandably assume that distant starlight must have taken billions of years to reach...

ACTS & FACTS
Hawaii Behind the Scenes
ICR Research Scientist Dr. Brian Thomas and ICR Video Producer Clint Loveness, with help from friends and family, recently shot footage in Maui, Hawaii,...

ACTS & FACTS
Mutation, Design, and Faith
Any alteration in a cell’s DNA sequence is a mutation. These changes can come from copying errors, exposure to chemicals or radiation, or from...

ACTS & FACTS
Another Function of 'Junk DNA' Discovered
For decades, evolutionists suggested that huge sections of our genome (about half) did not actively code for the production of proteins or polypeptides—and...