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At grammatical faculty of language, flies outsmart men


Stoop, R; Nüesch, P; Stoop, R L; Bunimovich, L A (2013). At grammatical faculty of language, flies outsmart men. PLoS ONE, 8(8): e70284.

Abstract

Using a symbolic dynamics and a surrogate data approach, we show that the language exhibited by common fruit flies Drosophila (‘D.’) during courtship is as grammatically complex as the most complex human-spoken modern languages. This finding emerges from the study of fifty high-speed courtship videos (generally of several minutes duration) that were visually frame-by-frame dissected into 37 fundamental behavioral elements. From the symbolic dynamics of these elements, the courtship-generating language was determined with extreme confidence (significance level > 0.95). The languages categorization in terms of position in Chomsky’s hierarchical language classification allows to compare Drosophila’s body language not only with computer’s compiler languages, but also with human-spoken languages. Drosophila’s body language emerges to be at least as powerful as the languages spoken by humans.

Abstract

Using a symbolic dynamics and a surrogate data approach, we show that the language exhibited by common fruit flies Drosophila (‘D.’) during courtship is as grammatically complex as the most complex human-spoken modern languages. This finding emerges from the study of fifty high-speed courtship videos (generally of several minutes duration) that were visually frame-by-frame dissected into 37 fundamental behavioral elements. From the symbolic dynamics of these elements, the courtship-generating language was determined with extreme confidence (significance level > 0.95). The languages categorization in terms of position in Chomsky’s hierarchical language classification allows to compare Drosophila’s body language not only with computer’s compiler languages, but also with human-spoken languages. Drosophila’s body language emerges to be at least as powerful as the languages spoken by humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Neuroinformatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:12 Feb 2014 17:08
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:33
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Series Name:PLoS ONE
Number of Pages:1
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0070284
PubMed ID:24058398

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