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Academic & Professional Books  Mammals  Primates

The Song of the Ape (Tenth Anniversary Edition)

By: Andrew R Halloran(Author)
248 pages, 10 b/w photos
Publisher: Elgin Press
The Song of the Ape (Tenth Anniversary Edition)
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  • The Song of the Ape (Tenth Anniversary Edition) ISBN: 9781736649848 Paperback Dec 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • The Song of the Ape (Tenth Anniversary Edition) ISBN: 9781736649824 Hardback Sep 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
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About this book

An absorbing investigation of chimpanzee language and communication. This Tenth Anniversary Edition contains a new final chapter and a new preface. The Song of the Ape traces the individual histories of five chimpanzees. Interspersed with these histories, the book details the long history of scientists attempting (and failing) to train apes to use human grammar and language. Ultimately, the book shows that while laboratories try in vain to teach human grammar to a chimpanzee, there is a living lexicon being passed down through the generations of each chimpanzee group in the wild. What is natural is more fascinating and more miraculous than anything than can be artifically forced on a chimpanzee. The Song of the Ape is a lively, engaging, and personal account, with many moments of humor as well as the occasional heartbreak, and it will appeal to anyone who wants to listen in as our closest relatives converse.

Customer Reviews


Andrew R. Halloran, PhD is a primatologist who studies chimpanzee behaviour and chimpanzee ecology. Dr Halloran is the Director of Chimpanzee Behavior & Care at Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida – a sanctuary that provides a home to chimpanzees previously used in biomedical research, entertainment, and the pet trade. He is the co-founder of the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project in Sierra Leone, a conservation initiative that seeks to mitigate conflicts between humans and chimpanzees in anthropogenic landscapes. He is the author of Lion Shaped Mountain.

By: Andrew R Halloran(Author)
248 pages, 10 b/w photos
Publisher: Elgin Press
Media reviews

Reviews of the original edition

"Those of us who work with nonhuman species can appreciate the subtle observations that Andrew Halloran in The Song of the Ape shares about individual chimpanzee personalities, dynamic relationships, and vocal communication. Whether in the wild or in captivity, Halloran shows us that the presence, or absence, of an individual can be pivotal to the survival and evolution of the group or another chimpanzee. Once again we are reminded that animals are not numbers but are unique beings deserving of our respect. This exploration into the complexity and behavioral dynamics of an ever-changing social group of chimpanzees leads us to think about new ways of studying sentient minds on the planet. For anyone interested in animal behavior and our closest relatives, this book is not to be missed!"
– Dr. Denise L Herzing, author of Dolphin Diaries

"The field of ape language research for decades has asked whether we can teach them to speak our language. Andrew Halloran has approached the question from a more intriguing – and sensible – perspective that has received short shrift: How do chimpanzees communicate with each other? Working with groups of captive chimpanzees living on separate islands, Halloran decoded some of their communications and dialects, and, more importantly, showed that there's a complexity to their vocalizations that humans barely understand."
– Jon Cohen, author of Almost Chimpanzee and Shots in the Dark

"Halloran is a wonderful storyteller, and his gripping account of living among the apes alternates between thrills and chills, humor and tender moments.."
– Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"[...] the author's detailed descriptions of the chimps themselves [...] make this book unique. Because of Halloran's considerable skill at literary nonfiction, the chimps of his study are as fascinating as characters in a novel. Strongly recommended for general readers who enjoy Jane Goodall's chimpanzee books."
Library Journal (starred)

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