The Design of Animal Communication


When animals, including humans, communicate, they convey information and express their perceptions of the world. Because different organisms are able to produce and perceive different signals, the animal world contains a diversity of communication systems. Based on the approach laid out in the 1950s by Nobel laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen, this book looks at animal communication from the four perspectives of mechanisms, ontogeny, function, and phylogeny.

The book's great strength is its broad comparative perspective, which enables the reader to appreciate the diversity of solutions to particular problems of signal design and perception. For example, although the neural circuitry underlying the production of acoustic signals is different in frogs, songbirds, bats, and humans, each involves a set of dedicated pathways designed to solve particular problems of communicative efficiency. Such comparative findings form the basis of a conceptual framework for understanding the mechanisms underlying communication systems and their evolution.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. I. Mechanisms of Communication
  3. 1. Vocal Communication in

    Darcy B. Kelley and Martha L. Tobias

  4. 2. The Motor Basis of Vocal Performance in Songbirds

    Roderick A. Suthers

  5. 3. The Anatomy and Timing of Vocal Learning in Birds

    Fernando Nottebohm

  6. 4. The Dance Language of Honeybees: Recent Findings and Problems

    Axel Michelsen

  7. 5. Processing Species-specific Calls by Combination-sensitive Neurons in Echolocating Bat

    Jagmeet S. Kanwal

  8. 6. A Cellular Basis for Reading Minds from Faces and Actions

    David I. Perrett

  9. 7. Neural Systems for Recognizing Emotions in Humans

    Ralph Adolphs

  10. 8. The Neuroendocrine Basis of Seasonal Changes in Vocal Behavior among Songbirds

    Gregory F. Ball

  11. 9. Testosterone, Aggression, and Communication: Ecological Bases of Endocrine Phenomena

    John C. Wingfield, Jerry D. Jacobs, Kiran Soma, Donna L. Maney, Kathleen Hunt, Deborah Wisti-Peterson, Simone Meddle, Marilyn Ramenofsky and Kimberly Sullivan

  12. II. Ontogeny of Communication
  13. 10. On Innateness: Are Sparrow Songs "Learned" or "Innate"?

    Peter Marler

  14. 11. Making Ecological Sense of Song Development by Songbirds

    Donald E. Kroodsma

  15. 12. Song- and Order-selective Auditory Responses Emerge in Neurons of the Songbird Anterior Forebrain during Vocal Learning

    Allison J. Doupe and Michele M. Solis

  16. 13. Genetics of Canary Song Learning: Innate Mechanisms and Other Neurobiological Considerations

    Paul C. Mundinger

  17. 14. Production, Usage, and Response in Nonhuman Primate Vocal Development

    Robert M. Seyfarth and Dorothy L. Cheney

  18. 15. Speech, Language, and the Brain: Innate Preparation for Learning

    Patricia K. Kuhl

  19. III. Evolution of Communication
  20. 16. Signal Evolution in Electric Communication

    Carl D. Hopkins

  21. 17. Complementary Explanations for Existing Phenotypes in an Acoustic Communication System

    Andrew H. Bass, Deana Bodnar and Margaret A. Marchaterre

  22. 18. Reproductive Character Displacement and Other Sources of Selection on Acoustic Communication Systems

    H. Carl Gerhardt

  23. 19. Phylogenetic Inference and the Evolution of Communication in Túngara Frogs

    Michael J. Ryan and A. Stanley Rand

  24. 20. Categorical Perception of Behaviorally Relevant Stimuli by Crickets

    Robert A. Wyttenbach and Ronald R. Hoy

  25. 21. Functions of Song Variation in Song Sparrows

    William A. Searcy and Stephen Nowicki

  26. 22. The Evolution of a Lopsided Brain: Asymmetries Underlying Facial and Vocal Expressions in Primates

    Marc D. Hauser

  27. 23. Mechanisms Underlying the Vocalizations of Nonhuman Primates

    Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth

  28. 24. Communication and Tool Use in Chimpanzees: Cultural and Social Contexts

    Tetsuro Matsuzawa

  29. List of Contributors
  30. Name Index
  31. Subject Index