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This book is a work of revolutionary neuroscience. It presents a new account of the origin of language and, by revealing the underlying symbolic process, sheds new light on the evolution of human consciousness. Deacon examines other species' brains and communicative behaviour with examples such as Hoover, the world's only talking seal; the velvet monkeys whose various alarm calls seem to refer distinctively to eagles, leopards and snakes; and Kanzi, a chimpanzee who, almost by accident, developed the most advanced language abilities demonstrated by any non-human to date. In each case he takes us behind the scenes, analysing detailed differences in brain structure and development.
`An accessible yet erudite volume, witty and uncompromising. In my opinion it is the best book yet written on the evolution of language.' Merlin Donald, Professor of Psychology at Queen's University, Ontario, and author of Origins of the Modern Mind.