Monkeytalk: Inside The Worlds And Minds Of Primates by Julia FischerMonkeytalk: Inside The Worlds And Minds Of Primates by Julia Fischer

Monkeytalk: Inside The Worlds And Minds Of Primates

byJulia FischerTranslated byFrederick B. Henry Jr.

Hardcover | January 4, 2017

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Monkey see, monkey do—or does she? Can the behavior of non-human primates—their sociality, their intelligence, their communication—really be chalked up to simple mimicry? Emphatically, absolutely: no. And as famed primatologist Julia Fischer reveals, the human bias inherent in this oft-uttered adage is our loss, for it is only through the study of our primate brethren that we may begin to understand ourselves.

An eye-opening blend of storytelling, memoir, and science, Monkeytalk takes us into the field and the world’s primate labs to investigate the intricacies of primate social mores through the lens of communication. After first detailing the social interactions of key species from her fieldwork—from baby-wielding male Barbary macaques, who use infants as social accessories in a variety of interactions, to aggression among the chacma baboons of southern Africa and male-male tolerance among the Guinea baboons of Senegal—Fischer explores the role of social living in the rise of primate intelligence and communication, ultimately asking what the ways in which other primates communicate can teach us about the evolution of human language.

Funny and fascinating, Fischer’s tale roams from a dinner in the field shared with lionesses to insights gleaned from Rico, a border collie with an astonishing vocabulary, but its message is clear: it is humans who are the evolutionary mimics. The primate heritage visible in our species is far more striking than the reverse, and it is the monkeys who deserve to be seen. “The social life of macaques and baboons is a magnificent opera,” Fischer writes. “Permit me now to raise the curtain on it.”
Julia Fischer is professor in the German Primate Center and head of the Department of Cognitive Ethology at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, as well as president of the European Federation of Primatology. Frederick B. Henry Jr. holds an MA in anthropology from the University of Chicago and is an independent scholar and tran...
Title:Monkeytalk: Inside The Worlds And Minds Of PrimatesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:January 4, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022612424X

ISBN - 13:9780226124247


Table of Contents


Part One: Social Behavior
Primate Diversity
Barbary Macaques: Model Monkeys
Primate Social Systems
Social Organization
Mating Systems
Social Relationships
Chacma Baboons: Into the Wild
Baboon Camp
Long-Term Studies
Guinea Baboons: Uncharted Territories
An Expedition to Senegal
First Findings
The Evolution of Baboons
Challenges of the Third Kind

Part Two: Cognition
What Do Animals Think?
Trophy Hunters and Killjoys
The Social Brain
Physical Cognition
The Basics
Social Intelligence
Do Animals Have Culture?
Forms of Social Learning
Gaze Following
Social Knowledge
Theory of Mind
Seeing and Knowing
The Evolution of Intelligence

Part Three: Communication
What Is Communication?
Senders and Receivers
Signals and Cues
The Function of Monkey Sounds
Communication in Conflicts
Mating Calls
Group Coordination
The Evolution of Language: Beginnings
Early Theories
A Pioneer
Elements of Linguistic Competence
Ape Language Projects
Language Training for Apes
Symbolic Languages
Natural Communication in Apes
Alarm Calls
The Development of Vocalization
Development of Reactions
Perception of Gradual Differences
Word Learning in a Domestic Dog
The Evolution of Language: State of the Art
Syntactic Abilities
Is There a Gene for Language?
Gestural Communication
Intentional Communication
Just for the Fun of It
The Evolution of Communication

Conclusion and Prospects

Editorial Reviews

“Accessible and . . . entertaining. . . . Fischer’s book . . . is very much to be treasured.”