Presentation Title: Is Intelligence Divorced From Communication?

Abstract: A basic Darwinian principle is continuity, to the effect that closely related species are more similar than distantly related ones. For example, great apes are described as more intelligent and human-like than monkeys, but how does this evolutionary principle explain the diversity in communication? Fieldwork has shown that some monkey species have vocal capacities that are, in many ways, more complex and sophisticated than what has been reported from great apes. This is troublesome because a defining feature of humans precisely is highly complex vocal communication. I will discuss recent empirical evidence to address the apparent chasm between monkey and ape communication and the widely held belief that ape vocal behaviour is cognitively uninteresting.


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