Songs, Roars, and Rituals: Communication in Birds, Mammals, and Other Animals / Edition 1

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Overview

From the calling macaw and the roaring lion to the dancing lyrebird, animals all around us can be heard and seen communicating with each other and, occasionally, with us. Why they do so, what their utterances mean, and how much we know about them are the subject of Songs, Roars, and Rituals. This is a concise, yet comprehensive, introduction to the complexities of communication in animals.

Rogers and Kaplan take us on an exciting journey through communication in the animal world, offering insights on how animals communicate by sight, sound, smell, touch, and even electrical signaling. They explore a wide variety of communication patterns in many species of mammals and birds and discuss in detail how communication signals evolved, how they are learned, and what song and mimicry may mean.

An up-to-date account of the science of animal communication, this book also considers modern concepts (such as that of deceptive communication) and modern controversies, primarily those surrounding the evolution of human language and the use of symbolic language by apes. It concludes with a thought-provoking look at the future of communication between humans and animals.

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Editorial Reviews

American Scientist
Songs, Roars, and Rituals...is a hard book to dislike. Rogers and Kaplan have an appealing writing style that rolls along with just the right ration of anecdote to theory. They make reference to a wide variety of birds and mammals from every continent...richly laden with examples of animal communication that clarify the definitions being offered...Rogers and Kaplan draw some tricky theoretical distinctions very well...entertaining and elucidative.
— Clive Wynne
Booklist
A well-written survey of what is known about communication in animals (mostly birds and mammals) in eight concise chapters...As a primer to an exciting field of animal behavior, this eminently readable account succeeds in thoroughly engaging the reader.
— Nancy Bent
Choice
Rogers and Kaplan have written an introductory work that sets the table for a range of important topics: signaling and its importance, communication in birds and mammals, the ontogeny of communication, the evolution of communication, and animal-human contacts...The authors, throughout, make a strong case for the ethical treatment of animals, using communication as a property humans share that blurs the line between human superiority and animals' subordinate status...A welcome addition.
— H.N. Cunningham, Jr.
South China Morning Post
An accessible, non-technical volume on what all that growling, twittering, snorting and feather-ruffling actually signifies...While often startling, the book also leaves the reader warming to more unfluffy species, supporting the authors' subtext that all animals are worthy of our protection...This volume won't make you Dr. Dolittle, but it will make you question some preconceptions.
— Stephen McCarty
Clive Wynne
Songs, Roars, and Rituals...is a hard book to dislike. Rogers and Kaplan have an appealing writing style that rolls along with just the right ration of anecdote to theory. They make reference to a wide variety of birds and mammals from every continent...richly laden with examples of animal communication that clarify the definitions being offered...Rogers and Kaplan draw some tricky theoretical distinctions very well...entertaining and elucidative.
H.N. Cunningham Jr.
Rogers and Kaplan have written an introductory work that sets the table for a range of important topics: signaling and its importance, communication in birds and mammals, the ontogeny of communication, the evolution of communication, and animal-human contacts...The authors, throughout, make a strong case for the ethical treatment of animals, using communication as a property humans share that blurs the line between human superiority and animals' subordinate status...A welcome addition.
Stephen McCarty
An accessible, non-technical volume on what all that growling, twittering, snorting and feather-ruffling actually signifies...While often startling, the book also leaves the reader warming to more unfluffy species, supporting the authors' subtext that all animals are worthy of our protection...This volume won't make you Dr. Dolittle, but it will make you question some preconceptions.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the cat's meow to the bowerbird's bright-blue nest, animals constantly and variously exchange information. Avians, primates, seals, whales, even insects and lizards send signals in order to find and keep their mates; to deceive predators, or to warn them away; to mark their territories; to train their young; and to pass on useful information. Neurobiologist Rogers (Minds of Their Own) and social scientist Kaplan (also the author of books on Australian feminism) have written an accessible, consistently absorbing and scientifically scrupulous survey of how animals send signals and of what evolutionary theory tells us about how they came to do so. The authors first explain how biologists distinguish between intentional signaling and other behaviors, such as "intention movements" (e.g., a bird flapping its wings before takeoff). Bird songs have inspired their own flock of specialized research; much of this volume covers warblers' warbles, lyrebirds' melodies and finches' trills. We learn why certain acoustic properties suit certain calls (staccato chirps, for example, make birds easier to locate), and we find out how various species teach their young their own calls, signs and songs--some calls are largely "learned," others seem to be genetically programmed in much more detail. Mammal calls have proven harder to study, but Rogers and Kaplan explain what we do know. A concluding chapter describes how humans communicate with animals: pet owners and tribal hunter-gatherers both get sympathetic attention. An earlier version of this work was published in England in 1998 as Not Only Roars and Rituals; this revised American edition follows the May publication of the authors' other collaborative survey, The Orangutans (Forecasts, May 22). 8 halftones, 14 line illus. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Anyone who has ever had a dog drop his leash in front of them, or a cat leap into a lap at dinner time, knows that animals can communicate. Less obvious are such things as non-vocal communication among birds, tactile signals in mammals (including grooming, embracing and even a kind of kissing) and chemical releases by fish. Such examples make for pleasant, interesting reading. None of the numerous examples or species is discussed in depth, as this is an introductory text, but the tone remains professional. "Lemurs (Lemur catta) make use of the scent glands on their wrists, which they rub on their long, striped tails for olfactory communication. Alison Jolly has described "stink fights" in which a number of animals gather together on the ground with their tails raised and "throw" odors at each other by moving around and waving their tales back and forth over their heads." Beyond separate chapters on birds and mammals, there is specific coverage on learning to communicate, the evolution of communication, whether signaling is intentional or not and one human-animal contacts. Rogers and Kaplan are both full professors at the University of New England in Australia. This engaging work will be appropriate for high school seniors and lower level undergraduate science programs and collections. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Harvard Univ. Press, 207p. notes. index., Gillen
Library Journal
The authors (behavioral sciences, Univ. of New England, Australia) focus on communication among animals, with chapters on its definition, evolution, use, how it is learned, whether it is intentional, signaling and sensory perception, and human-animal contacts. This rather advanced look at animal behavior is authoritative and well documented but suffers from a pedantic, academic style that makes for laborious reading. Bland phrases such as it is important, invites further comment, we have said that, and research on any aspect of are legion. Nevertheless, because it effectively synthesizes available information, as evidenced by the extensive bibliography, this book is an important contribution to the study of animal behavior and ethology--a field of growing interest, notable for such Nobel laureates and iluminaries as Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and E.O. Wilson. Therefore, it is recommended for academic and larger public libraries, but with reservations as to its writing style.--Henry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
A concise and readable introduction to the complexities of communication in animals, offering insight on how animals communicate by sight, sound, smell, touch, and even electrical signaling. Explores a variety of communication patterns in many species of mammals and birds, discusses how communication signals evolved, and concludes with a look at the future of communication between humans and animals. The authors are professors at the University of New England, Australia. Rogers specializes in neuroscience and animal behavior. Kaplan specializes in ethology and social science. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674008274
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesley J. Rogers is a full professor at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia.

Gisela Kaplan is a full professor at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia.

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Table of Contents

Preface

1. What is Communication?

2. Signals and Sensory Perception

3. Is Signaling Intentional or Unintentional?

4. Communication in Birds

5. Communication in Mammals

6. Learning to Communicate

7. The Evolution of Communication

8. Human-Animal Contacts

References

Index

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