Bird song and understanding human language
The 2015 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards were just announced. The AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.The award is considered America's top science journalism award, and this year was opened to programs abroad.
Rami Tzabar and Angela Saini of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) won the Gold Award for radio reporting for "What the Songbird Said", which explored how animal models of vocal communication may be useful in understanding how human language might have evolved. "Just like the birdsongs they report on, the BBC team produced a program that is both a delight to the ears and elegantly structured," said Seth Borenstein, a science reporter for the Associated Press, who helped judge the competition.
According to the AAAS website, Rami Tzabar said the program "was inspired by a chance meeting with one of the contributors, the MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa, who talked about using animal behavior as a way of understanding the evolution of human language. And of course, birdsong and primate calls make wonderful radio material."