Is it possible that there is a universal language spoken and understood by all animals on earth, including humans? Is human language unique, as linguists and philosphers have taught for centuries, or could it share and combine well-developed components of other species' communications? Do you long to know what wild animals are discussing and what your dog, cat, bird, fish, or horse is really saying?
Animal Talk, the first authoritative, popular book about animal communication, answers these and other provocative questions with often astonishing news about the latest scientific discoveries. Using his ten years of field research and numerous interviews with preeminent scientists in the field and under the sea, veteran journalist and popular science write Tim Friend helps us understand what lies behind the eyes, within the sounds and scents, and beneath the flashy displays and postures of our animal neighbors.
The world has an estimated 10 million species, all chattering away with noisy and smelly abandon, using their own seemingly unique and baffling signals. Nonetheless, Friend reveals that animals and humans can easily understand each other because every creature on earth "speaks" a common nonverbal language -- an animal Esperanto that has developed through hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Through a skillful interweaving of amazing facts and compelling true animal stories, Friend demonstrates how similar human behavior and language are to other species', including the ways we attract members of the opposite sex, rear children, and compete in society.
A scientific Dr. Dolittle, author Tim Friend is your guide on a fascinating tour of the animal kingdom. Along the way, he enlists the enthusiastic translation services of the top scientists in animal communication to show a wonderful range of animals in action, to explain the intricate ways in which they use signals, and to interpret what they mean by them. From the Amazon and Central American rainforests to deep into the Ozarks, every environment Friend visits reveals a fascinating new insight and clue to the great puzzle of how animals communicate within and between species -- and how the many tongues, stripes, and resonances of the animal kingdom laid the original foundation for our own language.
Animal Talk tells the grand story of animal communication through the stories and signals of the animals themselves. Vital to our understanding of birds and bees, dogs and dolphins, and ourselves and our fellow primates, Animal Talk is also vital to the survival of our planet.
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"If you love animals, you'll love this book. Animal Talk combines up-to-date knowledge about animal communication with Friend's clear writing and compelling fascination with animals and the people who study them."
--Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., author of the bestselling The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
"In a very enjoyable and well-informed book, Tim Friend argues that modern science is surpassing Dr. Dolittle. We know enough about the communication of other species to conclude, with the author, that animals may not have language, but they have plenty to say."
--Frans de Waal, author of The Ape and the Sushi Master
"In Tim Friend, the animal kingdom -- and for that matter, the plant and bacterial kingdoms -- has found a thoroughly engaging new spokesman. Animal Talk makes a bold case for the argument that the richness of animal communication systems differs from human language only in degree, not in kind. This is a must read for anyone who wants to listen in on what the other inhabitants of Planet Earth have to say to each other, and what they can teach us, as well. "
-- James Shreeve, author of The Genome War and The Neandertal Enigma (Coauthor with Donald Johanson of Lucy's Child)
Tim Friend is the senior science writer for USA Today. During his sixteen-year career at the newspaper, he has covered a broad range of topics including animal behavior, anthropology, physics, astronomy, biotechnology, and genetics. He has reported stories from Mount Everest, Antarctica, the Arctic Circle, the Amazon Rain Forest, the Middle East, Central America, and from a one-person submersible on the ocean floor. In addition to his work with USA Today, he has written for national magazines, including National Wildlife and Men's Health. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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