Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals
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"Slobodchikoff's ground-breaking research" (Jonathan Balcombe) shows us that animals have much to teach us about language
Groundbreaking research has been done teaching animals human language, but what about the other way around? Studies have shown that lizards, squid, monkeys, and birds are talking to each other, communicating information about food, predators, squabbles, and petty jealousies. These animal languages are unique and highly adaptive. By exploring them, we come to appreciate the basis of our own languages; understanding or even "speaking" them allows us to get closer to the other species who inhabit this planet with us. The implications of animals having language are enormous. It has been one of the last bastions separating "us" from "them."
Slobodchikoff's studies of the communication system of prairie dogs over twenty-five years have attracted a considerable amount of attention from the media, including a one-hour documentary on his work produced by BBC and Animal Planet.
In Chasing Doctor Dolittle, he posits that the difference is one of degree, not the vast intellectual chasm that philosophers have talked about for millennia. Filled with meticulous research, vivid examples and daring conclusions, this book will challenge the reader's assumptions and open up new possibilities of understanding our fellow creatures.
The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you for your personal use only. You may not make this e-book publicly available in any way. Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at: u.s.macmillanusa.com/piracy. CONTENTS Title Page Copyright Notice Author’s Note 1. Doctor Dolittle and Animal Language 2. What Is Language? 3. A New Theory of Language 4.
Development and success of any species as all the other systems of an organism’s body. To understand how the Discourse System functions, let’s first take a look at the other biological systems of the body. Here are some systems that we humans have: skeletal/muscular, cardiovascular, digestive, sensory, endocrine, limbic, nervous, immune, and reproductive. All of these systems found in humans have their roots in other species. Our internal skeleton is based on a design that developed hundreds of.
Farther along the street hang slabs of meat that are covered from top to bottom with flies. My nose picks up lots of different smells, from the food, from the stalls, from the street. Everywhere around me people are buying food. As they buy the food, they’re haggling about prices, about freshness, about taste. I listen and I try to understand what they’re saying, but I don’t know Arabic. I only know a few words here and there. A word for “apple.” A word for “pepper.” I stop in front of the stall.
Before I lost track of them in the darkness. Once I got back to my laboratory in the United States and analyzed the sound, I found that each male had his own distinctive voice and a distinct vocal signature that differed from the other males. It is very likely that each male and each female in that population of bats knew exactly who was calling and where every individual bat was roosting. Other bats also have individual signatures in their vocalizations. Greater mouse-eared bats (Myotis myotis).
Neighbors who learned one another’s songs and locations could save an enormous amount of energy because they didn’t have to fly over and investigate every male’s song that they heard. They didn’t have to engage in constant, time-consuming song battles. Instead, they could attend to other aspects of their survival, such as mating, as long as they knew that their neighbors were in place and doing the same. Just like some birds use song to proclaim territorial ownership, so do some bats. Male.