Science is making it possible to ‘hear’ nature. It does more talking than we knew | Karen Bakker – Rights History
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Science is making it possible to ‘hear’ nature. It does more talking than we knew | Karen Bakker

With digital bioacoustics, scientists can eavesdrop on the natural world – and they’re learning some astonishing things

Scientists have recently made some remarkable discoveries about non-human sounds. With the aid of digital bioacoustics – tiny, portable digital recorders similar to those found in your smartphone – researchers are documenting the universal importance of sound to life on Earth.

By placing these digital microphones all over Earth, from the depths of the ocean to the Arctic and the Amazon, scientists are discovering the hidden sounds of nature, many of which occur at ultrasonic or infrasonic frequencies, above or below human hearing range. Non-humans are in continuous conversation, much of which the naked human ear cannot hear. But digital bioacoustics helps us hear these sounds, by functioning as a planetary-scale hearing aid and enabling humans to record nature’s sounds beyond the limits of our sensory capacities. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), researchers are now decoding complex communication in other species.

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