Books  Animal & General Biology  Animals: Behaviour 

Animal Vocal Communication: Assessment and Management Roles

New Edition
  • Illustrates the relationship between form, function and vocal signal evolution, an historically neglected subject that is now a booming area of research
  • Shifts the emphasis from a linguistic to a form/function approach, prompting students and researchers to think 'outside the box' on animal communication
  • Includes new sections on human prosodic elements in speech and the vocal origins of smiles and laughter, music in relation to motivation-structural rules and deliberately irritating sounds such as infant crying and primate screams

By: Eugene S Morton (Author)

256 pages, 49 b/w illustrations, 5 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Nov 2006 | Edition: 1 | #190738 | ISBN: 052103129X
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £39.99 $51/€48 approx
Hardback | Apr 2017 | Edition: 2 | #234272 | ISBN-13: 9781107052253
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NHBS Price: £74.99 $96/€89 approx
Hardback | Apr 1998 | Edition: 1 | #74302 | ISBN: 0521324688
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NHBS Price: £83.99 $108/€100 approx

About this book

How do animals communicate using sounds? How did animal vocal communication arise and evolve? Exploring a new way to conceptualize animal communication, this new edition moves beyond an earlier emphasis on the role of senders in managing receiver behaviour, to examine how receivers' responses influence signalling. It demonstrates the importance of the perceiver role in driving the evolution of communication, for instance in mimicry, and thus shifts the emphasis from a linguistic to a form/function approach to communication. Covering a wide range of animals from frogs to humans, this new edition includes new sections on human prosodic elements in speech, the vocal origins of smiles and laughter, and deliberately irritating sounds, and is ideal for researchers and students of animal behaviour and in fields such as sensory biology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology.

Reviews of the first edition:

"Packed full of cogent example, Donald Owings and Eugene Morton's Animal Vocal Communication is erudite, wide ranging and fascinating."
New Scientist

"[...] interesting reading [...] an intellectual challenge [...] a most welcome contribution for readers with a good knowledge of the literature on animal vocal communication."
– Torben Dabelsteen, Ibis

"This is the shortest, most clearly written and most interesting of several major books on animal communication that were published in the past 3 years [...] This is a stimulating and provocative book [...] I highly recommend it to all primatologists interested in social behaviour and communication."
International Journal of Primatology



1. The informationizing of communication
2. The roles of assessment and management in communication
3. Form and function in vocal communication
4. Mechanisms and proximate processes of vocal communication
5. Assessment/management: a viable replacement for the metaphor of transmitted information


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Eugene S. Morton is a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC and an Adjunct Professor Emeritus at York University, Toronto. He specializes in migratory bird behavioural ecology, mating systems in birds and saturniid moths, animal communication and avian/plant coevolution. He received the William Brewster Award from the American Ornithologists' Union in 1995 for his ornithological research.

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