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Babel’s Dawn

A Natural History of the Origins of Speech

List Price: $25.00

August 30, 2011 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5, 224 Pages | ISBN 9781582436418
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"Bolles is a superb writer. His book is interesting, erudite, and eminently readable." —John L. Locke, author of Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Differently

Babel’s Dawn is a saga covering six million years. Like a walk through a natural history museum, Edmund Blair Bolles demonstrates how members of the human lineage came to speak. Beginning with a diorama of the last common ancestor ignoring a bird as it flies by, he guides us through generations, illuminating how it became possible for two Homo sapiens to not only acknowledge the songbird, but to also discuss the meaning of its song.

Tracing the rise of voluntary vocalizations as well as the first word, phrases, and sentences, Bolles works against the common belief that the reason apes cannot speak is they are not smart enough. In this groundbreaking work, Bolles proposes that we now have substantial evidence that this age-old idea can no longer stand. With concrete portrayals of living individuals interwoven with evidence, data, and theory, Babel’s Dawn is a powerful account of a great scientific revolution

EDMUND BLAIR BOLLES is a former Peace Corps teacher who grew up in Washington, D.C., Paris, France, and Toledo, Ohio. His undergraduate degree is from Washington University in St. Louis, and he has a Masters in English from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in New York City.


“Bolles is a superb writer. His book is interesting, erudite, and eminently readable.” —John L. Locke, author of Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Differently

“This book springs from a very curious and keen mind, which never stops examining, inquiring and questing for facts. I strongly recommend it to everyone interested in the origin of language or more generally in how the human mind works. I also recommend it to all young students as an example of how even ‘forbidden’ questions may sometimes turn into a profitable research program.” —Giorgio Marchetti, author of Consciousness, Attention and Meaning

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