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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
bonobos by sighthound on 10 July 2006 1:29am
Just had to pass this along. The new research about communication with bonobos (close chimp relatives that are lovers, not fighters) has incredible implications about how various humans can learn to effectively communicate with each other. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5503685

It has always been obvious to me that sentient beings need to have a social context where their interests are considered for them to be willing to communicate. Finally, scientists have come around to proving it instead of scoffing that it is anthropromorphic nonsense.
Re: bonobos by perfectbitch on 10 July 2006 9:55am
Thank you for that link. It is so interesting - I have always believed language to be so much more than mere words. Have you read anything of Washo and her use of sign language?

Re: bonobos by sighthound on 10 July 2006 11:29am
You're welcome and, yes, I've read a lot about Washo and the use of sign language with primates but most of that is so primitive compared to what the Great Ape Trust is now finding out with their work with bonobos - truly revolutionary!!!

My favorite writer about animals is the late Vicki Hearn. She was both an academic and an animal "trainer"; she specialized in rehabilitating horses and dogs that were about to be put down because they were deemed too dangerous to be left alive. (See her "Adam's Task" and "Bandit".) She had to endure the scorn of her academic collegues for her writings about her understanding about how animals "think" because there wasn't any scientific documentation at the time that could support it and many of her fellow academics insisted that there was no evidence at all that animals could think.

As someone who has spent most of her life raising animals, the bonobo research is extremely interesting to me on that level but it has MUCH, MUCH broader implications. Most of the human conflict that plagues this world comes from a failure to communicate. This research shows that, with all sentient beings - humans included, communication comes only from a social context where needs and enthusiasms can be honestly expressed. (I'd just love to get Bush, Blair, Putin et al. into a room and force them to understand what the Great Ape Trust is doing.)

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