Marler, Peter Robert

Marler, Peter Robert, 1928–2014, British ethologist, b. Slough, England, Ph.D University College London, 1952, and Cambridge, 1954. At Cambridge he was introduced to the sonic spectrograph, an instrument used to record and visualize the frequency, rhythm, and pitch of the sounds birds make, which led to a lifelong interest in animal communication, especially birdsong. Marler's contributions to ethology include the discovery that birds go through several language-learning phases and that their songs often have a regional dialect. He also did research on the development of communication skills in primates. Marler taught at the Univ. of California, Berkeley (1957–66), Rockefeller Univ. (1966–89), and the Univ. of California, Davis (1989–94). He was the author of numerous scientific articles and of Nature's Music: The Science of Birdsong (2004, with H. Slabbekoorn).

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