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Animal Talk

Animal Talk

Breaking the Codes of Animal Language

If animal behavior is mostly instinctual, why do animals need to communicate? Is it possible that there is a universal language spoken and understood by all animals on earth, including humans? Do barks, growls, rumbles, chirps, yips, and meows have communicative meanings?
"No matter what species," writes acclaimed science journalist Tim Friend, "we're all concerned with the same topics of conversation -- sex, real estate, who's boss, and what's for dinner." In Animal Talk, Friend draws upon years of field research, interviews with preeminent scientists, and lively personal anecdotes to find out how our animal neighbors communicate and what their languages mean. From bird calls to whale songs, laughing hyenas to rattling snakes, an elephant cry in the jungle to the bark of a Chihuahua in his own backyard, Friend tells the grand story of animal communication through the sounds, stripes, scents, and signals of the animals themselves.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743201582 | 
  • February 2005
List Price $18.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: A Walk in the Park: Toward a Universal Language

Just before midnight, I crawl off my hammock and slip quietly from under the blessed drapes of mosquito netting. The kerosene lanterns have been dimmed to barely a flicker across the long raised wooden platform that serves as our base camp in the tropical rain forest of northwestern Peru. The platform is in the center of a clearing next to the bank of a small tributary that feeds into the Napo River half a mile away. I arrived with four other journalists and a guide late in the afternoon after hiking through the muddy and tangled jungle since early morning. We have joined two... see more

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