|Summary diagrams of vocal systems in songbirds, humans, monkeys, and mice. |
(Figure 1 from Petkov & Jarvis in Ackermann et al., 2014).
Today a commentary was published in BBS in which the gradual audiomotor evolution (GAE) hypothesis (Honing & Merchant, 2014) is proposed as an alternative interpretation to the auditory timing mechanisms discussed in the target article by Ackermann et al. (2014).
While often a link is made between vocal learning (VL) and a species' auditory timing skills (e.g., 'entrainment'), the GAE and VL hypotheses show the following crucial differences.
First, the GAE hypothesis does not claim that the neural circuit that is engaged in rhythmic entrainment is deeply linked to vocal perception, production, and learning, even if some overlap between the circuits exists.
Second, the GAE hypothesis suggests that rhythmic entrainment could have developed through a gradient of anatomofunctional changes on the interval-based mechanism to generate an additional beat-based mechanism, instead of claiming a categorical jump from non-rhythmic/single-interval to rhythmic entrainment/multiple-interval abilities.
Third, since the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic (CBGT) circuit has been involved in beat-based mechanisms in imaging studies, we suggest that the reverberant flow of audiomotor information that loops across the anterior pre-frontal CBGT circuits may be the underpinning of human rhythmic entrainment.
Finally, the GAE hypothesis suggests that the integration of sensorimotor information throughout the mCBGT circuit and other brain areas during the perception or execution of single intervals is similar in human and nonhuman primates.
Ackermann, H., Hage, S., & Ziegler, W. (2014). Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-84 DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13003099
Honing, H., & Merchant, H. (2014). Differences in auditory timing between human and non-human primates. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(6), 557-558 DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13004056. [Alternative link: http://www.mcg.uva.nl/papers/Honing-Merchant-2014.pdf ]
Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2014). Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7 (274) 1-8. doi 10.3389/fnins.2013.00274