Animal Learning, Language, and Cognition

Current Research Projects

Jane Goodall Institute
A foundation developed by Jane Goodall and includes much about her life and work. She began studying chimpanzees in the wild in 1960 in Gombe, Tanganyika (now Tanzania). In 1975, she established the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation to promote animal research throughout the world.

Sue Savage-Rumbaugh at the Language Research Center - GA State University
The home page of the Language Research Center at Georgia State University where Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Duane Rumbaugh and others work with great apes and human children comparing and contrasting language development. This is a world renowned international research facility on many acres of land outside the city of Atlanta, GA.

Click on "The Apes" for detailed biographies, pictures, research findings and more on the primates they are currently working with. Included are the Pan troglodytes - Lana, Mercury, Sherman and Austin; and the Bonobos, including the famous "Kanzi" that Sue Savage-Rumbaugh has written extensively about. Biographies are also included of Matata, Neema and others.

The Center's site also includes research studies and reports on such topics as Kanzi's understanding of word order, sentence structure, grammar, etc.

A list of current and past publications is also available. Some of these reports are in full-text on-line for downloading.

Lynn Miles and the Chantek Foundation
Chantek is a twenty-two year old male orangutan who was cross-fostered, enculturated and taught to use sign language by anthropologist Dr. H. Lynn Miles. The mission of the Foundation is to support cultural research with Chantek; to understand the nature of orangutan communicative ability and intelligence; to foster the development of orangutan and other great ape persons in a Primate Cultural Center; to promote orangutan conservation through awareness of Chantek's abilities; and, to develop creative education about building a bridge between our species. Dr. Miles work began more than 20 years ago, but was interrupted for about 10 years. She has recently resumed her research and work with Chantek.

Francine "Penny" Patterson, The Gorilla Foundation and Project Koko
A comprehensive site on the work of Penny Patterson and team with the world renown gorilla "Koko." The site includes information on gorillas, detailed photographs of their work with the apes, Koko, Michael and Ndume. Also includes the elaborate artwork of Koko and Michael and much more.

You can also communicate with Koko and see Koko signing.

Roger and Deborah Fouts and the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) at Central Washington University
Roger and Debbie Fouts carries on the original work of Alex and Beatrice Gardner with the chimpanzees, Washoe, Loulis, Dar, Moja and Tatu. The site provides pictures and biographical sketches of each primate. Also includes a listing of their past and ongoing research at the Institute, along with their future plans.

Matsuzawa Tetsuro and the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan
The home of researcher Matsuzawa Tetsuro who has been working with the chimpanzee "Ai" since 1978. Ai is learning linguistic skills and knows how to write the alphabets.  The page includes her biography, friends, favorite foods, art - and pictures of her new baby boy born in April 2000.

Chimpanzee Ai and Friends: The Studies on the Chimpanzee Mind

Irene Pepperberg and the Alex Foundation
The work of Dr. Irene Pepperberg and her African Grey parrots, "Alex" and others. Alex can count, identify objects, shapes, colors and materials. Alex also understands concepts of same and different. Pepperberg believed that Alex woudl be able to read some day. Alex died in 2007. Alex could articulate language better than some humans. Dr. Pepperberg continues her work with other African Grey parrots at Brandies University.

The N'Kisi Project
A talking parrot with telepathic abilities.  You can hear an audioclip of N'Kisi talking in a language teaching session with trainer and researcher Aimee Morgana.

The Language and Culture of Crows
Thisi site has collected extensive data on crows, their culture, the language they speak and more.

Dr. Ken Marten and Project Delphis - Dolphin Cognition Research
Located in Kailua, Hawaii, the project is devoted to advancing scientific understanding and public awareness of the dolphin mind. The site is very comprehensive, showing you their work and research with photos and video clippings of the dolphins at work and play. The dolphins also have an underwater touch screen that allows them to interact with computers. See the dolphins make underwater bubble sculptures. The site also includes an extensive bibliography.

John C. Lilly and Interspecies Communication Between Man and Dolphin
Dr. Lilly, MD, has been conducting dolphin communication research for 23 years. His lab is in the Virgin Islands at the Human/Dolphin Foundation. He is a physician and psychoanalyst, specializing in biophysics, neurophysiology, electronics, computer theory, and neuroanatomy. He is inventor of the isolation tank method of exploring consciousness. This work has led him to interspecies communication research projects between dolphins and humans. He was the first to believe that dolphins could talk. Listen to Peter, the dolphin, saying "hello."

Rupert Sheldrake
Dr. Sheldrake is author of  Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, and has written and conducted research extensively on other unexplained powers of animals.


Journals Online

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes

Animal Cognition

Journal of Comparative Psychology

Research Studies and Articles

Bonobo Sex and Society - Frans de Waal

Conversations with a Gorilla
Patterson, F. National Geographic, October 1978, 154 (4), 438-465.

Gorilla Tells a Story of His Mother's Death
The story told by Michael, a large silverback gorilla, is of the death of his mother. He accurately uses ASL (American Sign Language) to describe the event. View the video.

Primate Use of Language: Case Studies

Self Recognition and Self-Awareness in Lowland Gorillas
Patterson, F. and R. Cohn

Self Recognition by Gorilla
Patterson, F. Journal of Gorilla Foundation

Signs of Cultural Transmission in a Chimpanzee
The Chimpanzee and Human Communications Institute, Central Washington University
Cristy L. Rasmussen, Mary Lee Jensvold, Roger Fouts, Deborah Fouts, & Jason M. Wallin

The Challenges of Understanding Animal Minds
Stevens, Jeffrey R, Center ofr Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin Germany.

The Development of Spontaneous Gestures in Zoo-living Gorillas and Sign-taught Gorillas:
From Action and Location to Object Representation
Tanner, Joanne E., Patterson, Francine G. and Byrne, Richard W
The Journal of Developmental Processes, Fall 2006, Volume 1, 69-102.


Other Primate Research Centers

Duke University Primate Research Center

Great Ape Trust

Pacific Primate Sanctuary

Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center

Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center - Emory University

The Primatech Project


The Ornithology Web Site
Site dedicated to the education of bird ecology and conservation.  Includes articles, photo gallery, gardening, etc.  Also includes links to other nature web sites, dragonflies, hummingbirds, butterflies, frog and toads, etc.

The Language and Culture of Crows
Thisi site has collected extensive data on crows, their culture, the language they speak and more.

How Smart are Crows Really?
An article with videos on the intelligence of Crows.

Marine Life

Marine Mammal Training At Sea World
See how they train dolphins and whales at Sea World using operant conditioning, shaping and chaining.


David Attenborough-The Lyre Bird

This is Einstein

Poachers Killed My Mother
Michael's Story
Dolphins See Themselves in Mirror

Here's What We Know About Dolphin Intelligence | National Geographic

Irene Pepperberg and Alex, the African Grey Parrot

Irene Pepperberg and Griffin

Can Animals Think? what Birds Can Tell Us About Animal Intelligence

A Conversation with Koko

A Conversation with Koko the Gorilla-PBS-Nature-1999 (Full Episode)

The Gardner's Early Work with Washoe and American Sign Language

Kanzi, The Bonobo Ape Talks to Reporters with Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

Kanzi, An Ape of Genius-Parts 1-4

The Gentle Genius of the Bonobo-Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

Bonobos: One Of Humankindís Closest Relatives & What They Can Teach Us | TIME

Dolphin Intelligence and Communication with Dr. Louis Herman

The Language of Dolphins

Sally Boysen       

SallyBoysen from Dario Ringach on Vimeo.

Dr.Tetsuro Matsuzawa Work at Kyoto University, Japan with Ai and Ayuma

Dr. Tetsuro Matsuzawa's Ai drawing

Jane Goodall: A Retrospective

Jane Goodall and Her Chimps

60 Minutes: Into the Wild

Great Apes Summit

Dr. Roger Fouts-Interspecies Communication (Audio)

Chimposiums at Central Washington University with Roger and Debbie Fouts

The Ape Who Went to College

Chantek, the Orangutan

Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas

Diane Fossey-Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

Frans de Waal: Moral Behavior in Animals

Konrad Lorenz-Imprinting

Konrad Lorenz-Ethology and Imprinting