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Calls & Drawls Scientists discover that different species sound surprisingly similar when metabolic factors are compared equally.

Take a cod. Shrink it, hypothetically, to

the size of a cricket, and then heat it to the cricket’s body temperature. Don’t be surprised if the cod starts chirping like a cricket. “When you convert metabolic factors such as size and temperature, how often the fish produces a song will sound more or less the same as the cricket,” says Alex Ophir, an OSU zoology professor and neuroendocrinologist. “And the length and loudness of their calls will be about the same, too.” Huh? That’s the result of a ground-breaking OSU and University of Florida study of about 500 species’ audible communication methods that links how they “talk” to how their bodies convert chemicals into energy — their metabolic rate. (continues on next page) 77

STATE Magazine, Spring 2010  

STATE Magazine is the official magazine of Oklahoma State University.