Sexual dimorphism in vocal control areas of the songbird brain

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Science  08 Oct 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4261, pp. 211-213
DOI: 10.1126/science.959852


In canaries and zebra finches, three vocal control areas in the brain are strikingly larger in males than in females. A fourth, area X of the lobus parolfactorius, is well developed in males of both species, less well developed in femal canaries, and absent or not recognizable in femal zebra finches. These size differences correlate well with differences in singing behavior. Males of both species learn song by reference to auditory information, and females do not normally sing. Exogenous testosterone induces singing in female canaries but not in female zebra finches. This is believed to be the first report of such gross sexual dimorphism in a vertebrate brain.

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