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Mr. Cohen explores animal communication -- within a species and also with man -- in a comfortable book, entertaining and edifying, that concludes quite convincingly that ""in a way we have come a full cycle. Primitive men believed that the animals could talk as well as men could, but we simply could not understand their language. . . . Now, after centuries of regarding the 'lower animals' as creatures that could not think, much less talk, we are again looking for the key to (their) secret languages. . . . At least a few scientists believe that when and if we find that key, the animals will have a lot to teach us."" Among them are most of the men -- and women -- whose work is surveyed here after welcome preliminaries revive and reanalyze 'myths' and introduce concepts (somewhat over-simply: reaction, intelligence, instinct, adaptation). Karl yon Frisch, the impressively patient interpreter of the bees' ""round"" and ""waggling"" dances; Konrad Lorenz on dogs and on birds, distinguishing mimicry from real comnmnication but then citing other modes, non-verbal/vocal; John C. Lilly and his dolphin studies -- this the least sparkling, most general section; and at greatest length the apes, in natural habitats and in captivity, with recaps of the oft-told experiments in using signlanguage et al. Overlaps abound, of course, with the more advanced Bil Gilbert study (How Animals Communicate), with tire several specialized treatments (Helen Kay, for instance, on apes or dolphins), and even with probes into ethological theory (e.g., the Freedman & Morriss books). As, however, a once-over, stand-alone synthesis this is a handy choice, and the package includes an index and reading list plus leavening photos and anecdotes.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1971
Publisher: Dodd, Mead