This is a book I've been waiting to read. I devoured it. Easy enough to follow for the layperson, and full of useful findings for the specialist. It is beautifully written by one of the true world experts in our field. A triumph, and a book that deserves to be read and cited for many years to come.

―Daniel J. Levitin author of This Is Your Brain on Music.

We take our love of tunes and sense of rhythm for granted, but Henkjan Honing is here to tell us that it is biology, not culture, that has given humanity its astounding musical talents. In a lively first-person account of recent discoveries in neuroscience and animal behavior, he illuminates the ancient roots of musicality.

―Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

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For an interview / podcast, see here.

A music researcher's quest to discover other musical species

Even those of us who can't play a musical instrument or lack a sense of rhythm can perceive and enjoy music. Research shows that all humans possess the trait of musicality. We are a musical species—but are we the only musical species? Is our musical predisposition unique, like our linguistic ability? In The Evolving Animal Orchestra, Henkjan Honing embarks upon a quest to discover if humans share the trait of musicality with other animals.


Any young person reading it will surely want to run away to become a cognitive scientist.'


'Most science happens as a tiresome

journey, and what the public sees is

only the splendidness of arrival – that

is not the case of this book.'

Current Biology

This book is also available in Dutch, German and Italian.