WHO WILL ANSWER THE OWL? by Margaret Farrington Bartlett


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Animal body language is the subject of Bartlett's scattershot report on subhuman communication, which asks a lot of off-the-wall questions (Have our inventions been too costly? What partnership have we with the animals?); gives a lot of cut and dried answers (animals feel; humans reason) which belie the lip service paid--at digressive length--to the spirit of inquiry; cites the expected studies (by yon Frisch, Goodall, David Premack, etc.) without relating them to any point or developing concept; and throws no light at all on what is put forth as a central issue--how animal signals evolved into human speech. Moreover, filling half the pages, plus wide borders on the other half, with sketchbookish ink drawings--some of which bear distracting captions that might better have been integrated with the text--only emphasizes the absence of structure. Bartlett no doubt set out to challenge readers to creative thought, but her signals are too scattered to be distinguished from the noise.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1976
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan