In this What I've Learnt Youtube video How Did Language Begin starting at the marked point, the author claims that the songbird in the city uses higher pitch to reduce echo bouncing. He later also claims that the indigenous people in the mountainous regions use whistle language to communicate to increase sound propagation distance. That runs counter to the fact that longer wavelength wave scatters less by obstacles of the same size. How does one reconcile the apparent contradiction?


There is no contradiction since human voice's frequency is lower than bird's and is over 85 hz https://erikbern.com/2017/02/01/language-pitch.html

that means the wavelength is $\frac{343 m/s}{85 hz}=4,035 m$ which is less than the size of a mountain or a building so by the effect and the situation you mentioned there wouldn't be a difference in the echo whether the wavelength is high or low

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    $\begingroup$ Good point. However, it still contradicts, albeit not as strongly as I previous thought, the claim that higher-pitched sound reduces the echoing/scattering. Also, the obstacle may not just be the whole mountain or building but the protrusion such as boulders, trees, or protruding structure of buildings like balconies, people's bodies or vehicles. $\endgroup$ – Hans Sep 23 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure that whistling is comparable to voice. They are very different things. What I do agree is that the pitch can be even higher and the sound goes easily through valley and hills/mountains. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Sep 23 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Alchimista: "pitch can be even higher and the sound goes easily through valley and hills/mountains." Are you saying you do want the increased scattering/echo to help propagate the sound further? $\endgroup$ – Hans Sep 26 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Hans.No that I whistle sound can propagate further even in straight direction. My comment is more on the fact that whistling for signalling seems much higher in pitch than the voice. It seems OP confuses high pitch with high frequency. For the real world, I think in the mountains people are just loud, (avalanches permitting) by the way. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Sep 27 at 9:14

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