Like speech, the species-specific vocalizations or calls of non-human primates mediate social interactions, convey important emotional information, and in some cases refer to objects and events in the caller's environment
These functional similarities suggest that the selective pressures which shaped primate vocal communication are similar to those that influenced the evolution of human speech. As such, investigating the perception and production of vocalizations in extant non-human primates provides one avenue for understanding the neural mechanisms of speech and for illuminating the substrates underlying the evolution of human language.Primate Audition: Ethology and Neurobiology is the first book to bridge the epistemological gap between primate ethologists and auditory neurobiologists. It brings together the knowledge of world experts on different aspects of primate auditory function. Leading ethologists, comparative psychologists, and neuroscientists who have developed new experimental approaches apply their methods to a variety of issues dealing with primate vocal behavior and the neurobiology of the primate auditory system.With the advent of new signal processing techniques and the exponential growth in our knowledge of primate behavior, the time has arrived for a neurobiological investigation of the primate auditory system based on principles derived from ethology. The synthesis of ethological and neurobiological approaches to primate vocal behavior presented in Primate Audition: Ethology and Neurobiology is likely to yield the richest understanding of the acoustic and neural bases of primate audition and possibly shed light on the evolutionary precursors to speech.