Language; starlings, monkeys and us


So, its looking like starlings have the capability to create/understand language. Which is really cool. Scientists created an artificial language, and then played it back to people, monkeys (cotton-top tamarin monkeys, to be exact), and starlings. People got it (80% of college students could figure it out), the monkey´s didn´t, and the starlings did.

Of course, everybody´s not in aggreement that this equals language, or that starlings aren´t just cheating, but you´ll have that. Here´s a couple of the comments =):

Dr Chomksy: “It has nothing remotely to do with language — probably just with short-term memory,”
Dr Gentner: “Chomsky may find this trivial, but that is a bit like saying apes use tools, but only the trivial kind that lack the sophistication of a tri-square or a laser level,”
Dr Hauser: “This shows a capacity that goes way beyond what we showed with tamarins. That’s what makes it an important paper.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/02/science/02song.html

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