How is it that some people are so good at mimicking day to day sounds – popping corks, robot vacuums, espresso machines, car alarms?
We have certainly heard remarkable mimicry in our animal friends. As we see in the David Attenborough-narrated video below, the incredible lyre bird can move beyond imitating fellow forest creatures to perfectly replicating the sound of clicking cameras, car alarms and, sadly, chainsaws and trees cracking.
The lyre is a tough act to follow, but some humans do us proud. To convincingly mimic the sounds they hear, we know these humans must have a remarkable vocal facility and attention to detail. Some researchers have hypothesized that convincing imitations require a particularly impressive auditory working memory – an ability to retain and quickly access relevant sounds. Research also suggest that uncanny mimics show strong musicality, and a refined musical perception.
Exhibit A? Check out the incredible Maytree and their phone sounds.
Header: Bence Balla Schottner