Review of Why Animals Talk: The New Science of Animal Communication

# · ✸ 43 · 💬 16 · 15 days ago · literaryreview.co.uk · tintinnabula · 📷
Do animals talk? Many traditions assume they do, and understanding animal talk has sometimes been thought to indicate great human wisdom. The study of animal behaviour has long been merely the study of how animals react to stimuli. A University of Cambridge zoologist specialising in the science of animal communication, he has studied five - wolves, dolphins, parrots, hyraxes and chimpanzees - of the seven species considered in this book in the wild. It might seem obvious that animal communication should be studied in the wild, but this idea is quite recent and radical. Kershenbaum begins with another observation that sounds trite: to understand animal communication we have to understand the animal societies in which the communication occurs. There is nothing obviously akin to words in animal discourse, he says, and though syntax - the ordering of sounds - is ubiquitous in animal vocalisations, he dismisses the notion of full-blown animal grammar. Kershenbaum no doubt sees Why Animals Talk as a book about biology.
Review of Why Animals Talk: The New Science of Animal Communication



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