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Animal squawks squeaks and songs (with helium)

Although a considerable body of scholarly work has examined the effects of Helium (2He) on human voice production [see, for example (Helium-assisted) High note research] we are by no means the only animals to have been investigated in this respect – here is a (non-exhaustive) list of examples of other creatures who have squawked, croaked, squeaked and even sung (soprano) under the influence of 2He.

Birds: Vocal tract resonances in oscine bird sound production: evidence from birdsongs in a helium atmosphere.

Frogs: Frogs in helium: The anuran vocal sac is not a cavity resonator.

Bats: The acoustics of the vocal tract in the horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hildebrandti.

Dolphins: Dolphin whistles: a functional misnomer revealed by heliox breathing.

Monkeys: The source-filter theory of whistle-like calls in marmosets: Acoustic analysis and simulation of helium-modulated voices.

BONUS with audio: ‘Soprano singing in gibbons’  – their normal singing can be heard here, via the Silvery Gibbon Project, and their Helium Soprano voice, here, via Nature.

Note: The photo shows Sir William Ramsay KCB FRS FRSE (1852–1916) the British chemist who received the 1904 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the ‘Noble Gases’ e.g. 2He


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