Vocal development in a waddington landscape

Yayoi Teramoto, Daniel Y. Takahashi, Philip Holmes, Asif A. Ghazanfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Vocal development is the adaptive coordination of the vocal apparatus, muscles, the nervous system, and social interaction. Here, we use a quantitative framework based on optimal control theory and Waddington’s landscape metaphor to provide an integrated view of this process. With a biomechanical model of the marmoset monkey vocal apparatus and behavioral developmental data, we show that only the combination of the developing vocal tract, vocal apparatus muscles and nervous system can fully account for the patterns of vocal development. Together, these elements influence the shape of the monkeys’ vocal developmental landscape, tilting, rotating or shifting it in different ways. We can thus use this framework to make quantitative predictions regarding how interfering factors or experimental perturbations can change the landscape within a species, or to explain comparative differences in vocal development across species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20782
StatePublished - Jan 16 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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