According to new research, bats are the ‘death metal singers’ of the animal kingdom, with a vocal range wider than ‘queen of pop’ Mariah Carey.
According to scientists, they are truly from hell, growling like rock bands on speed.
When communicating, flying mammals are ‘head bangers,’ producing frequencies far exceeding those of vertebrates, including humans.
A bat’s normal vocal range is 7 octaves, which is more than twice that of the average human.
‘That is remarkable,’ said lead author Professor Coen Elemans of the University of Southern Denmark. Most mammals have a range of 3-4, and humans have a range of about 3. There are a few human singers who can reach a range of 4-5.
They use the same technique as death metal singers for some noises. They also imitate the throat-singing Tuva people of Siberia and Mongolia.
Death metal is a heavy metal subgenre distinguished by distorted, low-tuned guitars, thunderous percussion, accelerated tempos, and guttural vocals. Its lyrics use music to convey murder, violence, aggression, and political upheaval.
The vocal folds are two flaps in our larynx. False ones have the same appearance but are not used in normal speech or song. Only death metal growlers and throat singers from a few cultures use them as bats. Humans lower them so that they oscillate in unison.
The people of Tuva, a small republic in southern Siberia, practice throat singing, an ancient tradition. The tradition, which was developed by nomadic herdsmen in Central Asia, requires singers to produce two or more pitches at the same time, creating an unusual effect.
When bats fly into or out of a densely packed roost, they use their false vocal folds to produce low sounds in the 1 to 5 kHz range.
Bats use echolocation to hunt in complete darkness, sending out very short, high-frequency calls. To find and capture insects, they listen for echoes reflected from nearby objects.
The study also discovered how bats make extremely high-frequency calls by vibrating very thin vocal membranes – structures that humans once possessed but lost during evolution.
Five bat larynxes were extracted, mounted, and filmed while airflow was applied to simulate natural breathing. The high-speed videos show vibrating vocal membranes and false vocal folds at various frequencies.