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Animal communication with Dr Karen McComb

The talk will be fascinating for anyone with an interest in animal behaviour.

This talk will be about how playback experiments can be used to gain insights into animal communication and animal minds. Dr McComb will illustrate this concept with examples of her work with elephants, lions, domestic cats & dogs. Playback experiments are when the noises an animal makes are recorded and later played back to other animals in the group to see what effect it has on their behaviour. This can thus be used to try to work out what the noises might mean.

Dr McComb is a reader of behavioural ecology at the University of Sussex. Her main research has involved using acoustic analysis and playback experiments to address questions about vocal communication and cognition in mammals.

Projects that she is currently involved with include:
1) Vocal communication and social knowledge in African elephants
2) Acoustic coding in mammal vocalisations: particularly in elucidating the importance in animal communication of acoustic parameters known to be important in human speech; study species include red deer, elephants, lions and domestic cats.
3) The evolution of vocal repertoires: including comparative analyses to investigate the effects of evolutionary increases in group size on the evolution of vocal repertoires in non-human primates.
4) Purring in domestic cats: investigating the evolution of purring and how domestic cats use purring to manipulate their human owners.
5) Communication and cognition in domestic dogs: examining the coding of information on size and motivational state in dog vocalisations and investigating the visual images that dogs associate with vocal signals.


Dr Karen McComb | talks | www


Date and Time:

10 May 2007 at 7:00 pm


2 hours 30 minutes



Woking College
Rydens Way
GU22 9DL

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Organised by:

Learning About Animals
See other talks organised by Learning About Animals...



£10 (£8 concs)

Available from:

Send cheque payable to ‘Learning About Animals’ to Suzanne Rogers, Learning About Animals, 14 Alexandra Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 2PE. Please enclose your contact details (e-mail ideally to save trees) so I can send confirmation and directions.

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