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Can Monkeys Talk



This is totally true. The cows talk. Some of their conversation is visual not verbal - whether they stand facing someone, or stand sideways to them means something different. Other communication is both verbal and explicit. When they are inviting their calf to nurse, they do a specific moo, their kid comes running from where ever they are and directly latches on.

More interesting, and perhaps similar to this monkey talk story, are the chickens and the jays. I used to think that Blue Jays are birds with no redeeming value. Then i realized that they perch atop the fir trees in the gulch and then, like watch fires of old lit along the coast warning neighbors that Viking raider ships were slipping through the fog for attack, the Jays mark the progress of Mt Lion or Bear as the predator heads up the gulch or a coyote trot down the road. The chickens listen, they run for shelter. Likewise, the chickens react not only to the shadow of a hawk or eagle above them, but also know the sound of a hawk's "scree" and head for the nearest shelter.

One of the jays learned to imitate a hawk's scree. This is a true story. He's so bad. He perches where he can watch, and then starts to imitate a hawk. "Scree Scree" he calls, then chuckles as the poor chickens scatter in panic.

The Jay who cried Hawk.

I love your farm stories. We have a bully Blue Jay that shows up at our feeders the others give him his space and return when he's finished. An acquaintance has a resident Jay that scares the hell out of their cat.

i just appreciate stories with wisdom in them, so i also like your "farm tales", bettyjo. we could use a new aesop.

I have no doubt that monkey vocalizations have the meanings described in the clip, but it's a bit of a stretch to imply that such vocalizations are evidence of common ancestry, since lots of animals use vocalizations in this manner.

Crows, for example, seem to employ a similar vocabulary:

The antics of crows are often easy for amateurs to observe. But even unseen, their language tells much about their behavior.

Dr. Cyndy Sims Parr, who just received her doctorate at the University of Michigan based on a study of crow vocalizations, said the birds' long-distance "caws" have different meanings determined by their form and rhythm and how they are strung together. Various vocalizations can mean "Stay out of my territory," "Watch out, someone's is after your lunch" or "Help me get this predator out of here." For example, she said, a string of "ko-ko ko-ko ko-ko" means "Neighbor, you're trespassing."

"The long-distance vocalizations, of which there are 15 or 20, function like a standard bird song," Dr. Parr said. In addition, there are the many soft sounds crows make when talking with family members, including rattles, growls, gargles, coos, squawks, squeals and plaintive oo-oo's. For example, young crows squeal when teasing one another, and the oo-oo's are begging sounds uttered by hungry chicks and females on the nest.

Dr. Caffrey has noted that Eastern and Western crows have different accents. There is a crow on just about every movie sound track, Dr. Parr said, and Dr. Caffrey said she can tell whether the movie was shot in the East or the West by how the crow sounds.

More on crow language here.

I'm wondering if this study was conducted just to prove some points o naysayers. If you are of the philosophy that humans are the superior animal - pretty much to the point of not really being an animal - then you may poo-poo any notion if animal communication. Animals communicate in many ways - through vocal noises, other physical noises, and gestures. Human animals do this too. It's possible we're the only species that can talk and talk and communicate nothing.


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