WASHINGTON (AP) -- The simplest grammar, long thought to be one of the skills that separate man from beast, can be taught to a common songbird, new research suggests.
Starlings learned to differentiate between a regular birdsong "sentence" and one containing a clause or another sentence of warbling, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature.
It took University of California at San Diego psychology researcher Tim Gentner a month and about 15,000 training attempts, with food as a reward, to get the birds to recognize the most basic of grammar in their own bird language.
Yet what they learned may shake up the field of linguistics.
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