Ahana Aurora Fernandez just started her first post-doc at the Natural History Museum of Berlin (Germany) where she studies vocal ontogenetic processes, the influence of social feedback on and neuromolecular details of vocal learning in the vocal production learner, the bat species Saccopteryx bilineata. Her main research interests lie in understanding mechanisms and (social) influences shaping vocal ontogeny and learning, and in investigating parallels between animal (social) communication and human language (i.e. the research field of biolinguistics). Since her bachelor, she studies social vocal communication and behavior in bats. During her doctorate, she studied the vocal ontogeny of wild S. bilineata pups in Costa Rica and Panama and investigated a very peculiar vocal practice behavior called pup babbling. Her doctoral work builds the foundation on which she is now starting into a new field during her post-doc: the investigation of neuromolecular mechanisms of mammalian vocal learning.
Language, more than anything else, defines human nature. Language appears to be unique in the animal kingdom and, thus, the question of how and why language evolved is one of the most fascinating research questions for me. However, it is […]