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Millisecond-scale motor encoding in the songbird brain.

Patterns of electrical activity in neurons (voltage traces, top) control skilled behaviors. Representing neural activity as binary "words" (middle) reveals how the brains of songbirds use these electrical patterns to produce vocal output. The precise timing of neural signals appears to be crucial in controlling the elaborate vocal patterns that have fascinated human listeners for centuries (bottom, excerpt from Olivier Messaien's Oiseaux exotiques, which was based on Messaien's transcriptions of birdsong). See Tang et al.

Image Credit: Sam Sober