Gallery Talk: Emerging Empathies, Looking at the development of language in birds, animals and humans

Archive Events & Talks (7 May 2015, 7.00pm - 9.00pm)
Join Marcus Coates and David Reby for a discussion around the exhibition of Coates’s work Dawn Chorus.
Humans share many aspects of biology and behaviour with birds. Like birds we form social groups, build homes and in some cases mate for life. Like us, birds have very complex vocal communication patterns, even having varying geographical dialects within the same species.

Marcus Coates is a keen amateur ornithologist, naturalist and shaman and is especially interested in the ways in which humans regard and relate to other species, as a means of investigating how we see ourselves. A number of his works have investigated ‘being animal’, ie what forms animal consciousness can take and how it connects variously with the human. He is particularly fascinated by the idea that because of our human capacity for mimicry, the structure of human language may have been influenced by the complex vocalisations heard by our distant ancestors – such as those of birds.

For this talk Marcus discussed these ideas with David Reby, Reader in Psychology at University of Sussex, who’s research focuses on understanding more about the origin, structure and function of vocal signals in vertebrates, including humans.

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