Apes and Dolphins Seminar Series

The Institute for Animals in Philosophy and Science and the Dolphin Communication Project are organizing the Apes and Dolphins Seminar Series this year in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Join Esteban Rivas and Justin Gregg for this three part seminar series exploring the scientific and ethical issues surrounding the study of language and intelligence in apes and dolphins.

Seminar 1

Why can’t apes and dolphins talk? Communication and language research with apes and dolphins

April 13th
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
10:00 – 17:00

Join ape language expert Esteban Rivas and dolphin communication researcher Justin Gregg for a day-long seminar addressing the question of why it’s so difficult to establish two-way communication with apes and dolphins.

This seminar will features lectures covering the study of apes’ and dolphins’ natural communication systems and the nature of the information they share with each other, as well as the many experiments that have been conducted to teach apes and dolphins to use artificial symbol systems. Both dolphins and the great apes were at the center of dozens of animal language research projects throughout the late 20th century, with the ultimate goal of establishing meaningful interspecies dialogue. A number of breakthroughs did occur, but the ultimate conclusion most scientists reached was that even the most intelligent non-human animal species do not appear to possess the kind of cognitive skills necessary to fully comprehend or use human language. This seminar will unravel the mystery of why and where things went wrong, and what the future of animal communication (and animal language) research holds in store. The lectures will feature stunning videos and images of dolphins and apes taken from Esteban and Justin’s (and the Dolphin Communication Project’s) research archive. There will of course be plenty of time for healthy discussions (and debates) throughout the day.

goodiesRegistration costs 50 Euro (30 Euro for students with student ID), and includes lunch, coffee/tea, as well as a goodie-bag containing a coupon for 50% off of an adopt-a-wild-dolphin kit (from the Dolphin Communication Project), a DVD of the film Dolphins: The Lighter Side, a dolphin information booklet, and a dolphin calendar and notecards. The seminar will take place at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in room HG 2A06. This is located in the Hoofdgebouw (HG), on the second floor of section A, room #6.

To register for the seminar or for more information, please fill out the below form:

Stay up to date about further announcements of the Apes and Dolphins Seminar Series by liking the series’ Facebook page.


MILogoPartnerEventSmallThe Apes and Dolphins Seminar Series is a Minding Animals Partner Event
More info about Minding Animals at www.mindinganimals.com


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Filed under Animal Cognition, Animal Communication, Language research with animals, Lectures and courses

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