Chalk one up for environmental pollutants.   DERON BAUMAN  ·  MAR 04 2008

Chalk one up for environmental pollutants.

Male starlings with the highest levels of endocrine disruptors in their bodies also possessed unusually developed high vocal centers, an area of the brain associated with songbirds' songs.

Accordingly, the polluted male starlings sang songs of exceptional length and complexity -- a birdsign of reproductive fitness.

Money quote: "Female starlings preferred their songs to those of unexposed males, suggesting that the polluted birds could have a reproductive advantage, eventually spreading their genes through starling populations."

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