Animals, information, and language

This summer has been a wonderful three months of reading and writing. Currently, I’m reading Alex Wright’s Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages, a book about information and information overload, a topic of long interest to me. Wright’s book includes interesting discussions of just how basic information management techniques are to humans and others, including how non-human species such as insects and birds preserve and disseminate information for the benefit of the group. Serendipity also struck when I recently came across this video from Time Magazine, showing Kanzi, a bonobo ape from the Great Ape Trust, who has a vocabulary of nearly 400 words that he expresses using a touch screen. Through Kanzi and earlier apes such as Koko (who used sign language to ask for a pet cat), we need to be reminded that information management and language skills are not limited to homo sapiens.

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