Monkeys Are Sticklers for Grammar
New research suggests that nonhuman animals are capable of communicating not only among their own kind but also with members of other species. Klaus Zuberbühler, a psychologist at University of St. Andrews in Scotland, spent hundreds of hours listening to the calls of Campbell’s monkeys and other species, gradually decoding their language, which is so grammatically sophisticated that it uses suffixes to change the meaning of calls based on the kinds of animals posing a threat. These intricate calls, which are used to pass on complex information about predators and their whereabouts, could be understood by other species of monkeys and even by birds such as hornbills.
We’re constantly learning more about the countless ways in which animals of all kinds are brilliant, selfless, and complex. Meanwhile, with all our texts, tweets, and e-mails, we sometimes can’t even talk to other humans—let alone other members of other species (um, TISNF, BBIAB, FUBAR—WTF?).
Written by Logan Scherer