As though biology was stealing notes from Walt Disney, French and German mice sing different ditties, scientists have found. Wild mice communicate with high-frequency "songs," and different mice groups use smaller or longer syllables, a new study in the journal PLOS One shows.
French mice, for the record, sing short, fast songs compared with their German counterparts. (If you're wondering why you never heard a mouse warble a tune, most of their chirps are ultrasonic -- too high for our hearing range.)
Male mice court females in song, but the study authors believe mouse songs can convey more than just sex. When the scientists paired mice in same-sex pairs, for example, female mice sang in concert much more frequently than male mouse pairs. Because female mice often live in groups (male mice don't), the scientists think female duets arise out of cooperative social situations.