"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.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||565 KB|
About the Author
CON SLOBODCHIKOFF is a professor of biology at Northern Arizona University and director of the Animal Language Institute.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Chasing Doctor Dolittle is a fascinating book on animal communication and language. Con Slobodchikoff has been studying and researching animal behavior and communication for the last 40 years, and in this book he shares his observations and experiences in a very readable and enjoyable way. The science is neatly and understandably interwoven with entertaining -- and relevant -- personal anecdotes and a huge number of examples of different sorts of animal communication or language which were so interesting I couldn't put the book down. (Do you know, for example, that the "push-ups" you often see lizards doing are actually a communication tool, or language? He talks about communicating with them --and evidently, after a while boring them -- by imitating their head bobs and push-ups.) The animals discussed range from bees to lizards to various birds and a wide range of mammals, including dogs, bats, apes, monkeys, hippos, hyenas, foxes, deer and of course prairie dogs, whose language he discovered and which he has studied most intensively. This is good stuff! If you like animals, and especially if you are interested in animal behavior and communication, you can't go wrong with this book. (I read a few sample pages on Amazon and I was hooked.) Now I just wish he'd write a book giving me details of how to really converse with my dog...