Will We Ever Speak Dolphin?, ed. Mick O’Hare

Second paragraph of third chapter:

The main function of most birdsong is long-distance communication, either to mark territory or to be sociable. As such it is largely intraspecific; blackbirds sing to impress blackbirds, not buntings. In contrast, social vocalisation, such as coordinating group activity, largely occurs at short range during active flight or foraging, or when settling down for the night or preparing to take flight as a flock.

Following on from Does Anything Eat Wasps? and Why Can’t Elephants Jump?, here are 101 more questions asked by New Scientist readers with answers also supplied by New Scientist readers. There is a whole chapter on why one might want one’s martini to be shaken, not stirred, with accounts from readers of direct experimentation on the options. Otherwise lots of wholesome science stuff. (And no, we won’t ever speak Dolphin; they don’t really have language to the same level that we do.) You can get it here.

This was the non-fiction book that had lingered longest on my unread shelf. Next was going to be A Brief History of the Hobbit, by John D. Rateliff, but I realised it was actually a condensation of his two books that I have already read, so in fact next will be Fanny Kemble’s Civil Wars, by Catherine Clinton.

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