Forebrain lesions disrupt development but not maintenance of song in passerine birds

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Science  25 May 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4651, pp. 901-903
DOI: 10.1126/science.6719123


The magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum is a forebrain nucleus of passerine birds that accumulates testosterone and makes monosynaptic connections with other telencephalic nuclei that control song production in adult birds. Lesions in the magnocellular nucleus disrupted song development in juvenile male zebra finches but did not affect maintenance of stable song patterns by adult birds. These results represent an instance in which lesions of a discrete brain region during only a restricted phase in the development of a learned behavior cause permanent impairment. Because cells of the magnocellular nucleus accumulate androgens these findings raise the possibility that this learning is mediated by hormones.

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