“Ifx a lion could talk we could not understand him,” is one of Wittgenstein’s (1953) better known aphorisms, one which he did not explicate, thus assuring it a long and richly implicationallife. Men were not talking to apes in Wittgenstein’s day, however, as they are now to some extent, and it is therefore of interest to ask what bearing this fact has on the aphorism. Some would insist that the chimpanzee data visibly refute the aphorism’s claim, therefore, we need not trouble ourselves further with its possible meanings. I do not think, however, that the chimpanzee data at all refute the aphorism. On the contrary, when those data are added to data from other species, the combination is notably helpful in assigning a specific interpretation to the aphorism; my objective here is to clarify the interpretation and show how it will help explain the difficulties one might have in talking to a lion. I will show why it is possible to talk to apes, and why, in contrast, it would be difficult to talk to lions. Regrettably I will have to diminish the elegance of the aphorism. I will have to give up lions, a species for which we have no data and substitute pigeons, a species for which we have some data, less than we need, but far more than for lions. Hopefully, I will be forgiven for deposing the king of beasts for a mere bird.