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Encyclopedia > Animal communication

Animal communication is any behaviour on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behaviour of another animal. The study of animal communication, sometimes called zoosemiotics (distinguishable from anthroposemiotics, the study of human communication) has played an important part in the development of ethology, sociobiology, and the study of animal cognition. Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. ... Human communication is the field dedicated to understanding how people communicate: with themselves intrapersonal communication another person interpersonal communication within groups group dynamics within organizations organizational communication across cultures cross-cultural communication The study of human communication is known as anthroposemiotics. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. ...


Animal communication, and indeed the understanding of the animal world in general, is a rapidly growing field, and even in the 21st century so far, many prior understandings related to diverse fields such as personal symbolic name use, animal emotions, animal culture and learning, and even sexual conduct, long thought to be well understood, have been revolutionized. For other uses, see Name (disambiguation). ... Emotion in animals considers the question, do animals feel, in the sense we understand it? Different answers have been suggested throughout human history, by animal lovers, scientists, and others who interact with animals, but the core question has proven hard to answer since we can neither obtain spoken answers, nor... In a draw in a mountainous region, a shepherd guides a flock of about 20 sheep amidst scrub and olive trees. ... Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior considered as a branch of zoology. ... Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species. ...

Contents

Themes within animal communication

Forms of communication

The best known forms of communication involve the display of distinctive body parts, or distinctive bodily movements; often these occur in combination, so a distinctive movement acts to reveal or emphasise a distinctive body part. An example that was important in the history of ethology was the parent Herring Gull's presentation of its bill to a chick in the nest. Like many gulls, the Herring Gull has a brightly coloured bill, yellow with a red spot on the lower mandible near the tip. When it returns to the nest with food, the parent stands over its chick and taps the bill on the ground in front of it; this elicits a begging response from a hungry chick (pecking at the red spot), which stimulates the parent to regurgitate food in front of it. The complete signal therefore involves a distinctive morphological feature (body part), the red-spotted bill, and a distinctive movement (tapping towards the ground) which makes the red spot highly visible to the chick. Investigations by Niko Tinbergen and his colleagues showed that the red colour of the bill, and its high contrast, are crucial for eliciting the appropriate response from the chick (It is unresolved whether this actually is an inborn behavior in all its complexity, or simply a combination of generalized curiosity on part of the chick, and generalized parental/feeding instincts acting together to produce a simple learning process via reward. Gull chicks peck at everything that is brightly colored, mainly red, yellow, white or shining, high-contrast objects, but the parent's bill is the only such object that will constantly yield food as a reward when pecked at. Accidental swallowing of pieces of brightly colored plastic or glass is a common cause of mortality amongst gull chicks). Binomial name Pontoppidan, 1763 The Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, is a large gull which breeds across North America, Europe and Asia. ... “Seagull” redirects here. ... Nikolaas Tinbergen (April 15, 1907 - December 21, 1988) was a noted ethologist and ornithologist who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Karl Von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns. ...


Another important form of communication is bird song, usually performed mainly by males, though in some species the sexes sing in alternation (this is called duetting and serves mainly purposes of strengthening pair-bonding and repelling competitors). Bird song is just the best known case of vocal communication; other instances include the warning cries of many monkeys, the territorial calls of gibbons, and the mating calls of many species of frog. Blackbird (Turdus merula), singing male. ... Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys. ... Genera Hylobates Hoolock Nomascus Symphalangus Gibbons are the small apes that are grouped in the family Hylobatidae. ... Distribution of frogs (in black) Suborders Archaeobatrachia Mesobatrachia Neobatrachia - List of Anuran families The frogness babe is an amphibian in the order Anura (meaning tail-less from Greek an-, without + oura, tail), formerly referred to as Salientia (Latin saltare, to jump). ...


Less obvious (except in a few cases) is olfactory communication. Many mammals, in particular, have glands that generate distinctive and long-lasting smells, and have corresponding behaviours that leave these smells in places where they have been. Often the scented substance is introduced into urine or feces. Sometimes it is distributed through sweat, though this does not leave a semi-permanent mark as scents deposited on the ground do. Some animals have glands on their bodies whose sole function appears to be to deposit scent marks: for example Mongolian gerbils have a scent gland on their stomachs, and a characteristic ventral rubbing action that deposits scent from it. Golden hamsters and cats have scent glands on their flanks, and deposit scent by rubbing their sides against objects; cats also have scent glands on their foreheads. Bees carry with them a pouch of material from the hive which they release as they reenter, the smell of which indicates if they are a part of the hive and grants their safe entry. Young boy smelling a flower Olfaction, which is also known as Olfactics is the sense of smell, and the detection of chemicals dissolved in air. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Horse feces Feces, faeces, or fæces (see spelling differences) is a waste product from an animals digestive tract expelled through the anus (or cloaca) during defecation. ... Meriones unguiculatus is a rodent belonging to subfamily Gerbillinae. ... Binomial name Waterhouse, 1839 The Syrian Hamster or Golden Hamster, Mesocricetus auratus, is the best known member of the rodent subfamily Cricetinae, the hamsters. ... Binomial name Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 Synonyms Felis lybica invalid junior synonym The cat (or domestic cat, house cat) is a small carnivorous mammal. ...


Most of these forms of communication can also be used for interspecific communication.


Functions of communication

While there are as many kinds of communication as there are kinds of social behaviour, a number of functions have been studied in particular detail. They include:

  • agonistic interaction: everything to do with contests and aggression between individuals. Many species have distinctive threat displays that are made during competition over food, mates or territory; much bird song functions in this way. Often there is a matched submission display, which the threatened individual will make if it is acknowledging the social dominance of the threatener; this has the effect of terminating the aggressive episode and allowing the dominant animal unrestricted access to the resource in dispute. Some species also have affiliative displays which are made to indicate that a dominant animal accepts the presence of another.
  • courtship rituals: signals made by members of one sex to attract or maintain the attention of potential mate, or to cement a pair bond. These frequently involve the display of body parts, body postures (gazelles assume characteristic poses as a signal to initiate mating), or the emission of scents or calls, that are unique to the species, thus allowing the individuals to avoid mating with members of another species which would be infertile. Animals that form lasting pair bonds often have symmetrical displays that they make to each other: famous examples are the mutual presentation of weed by Great Crested Grebes, studied by Julian Huxley, the triumph displays shown by many species of geese and penguins on their nest sites and the spectacular courtship displays by birds of paradise and manakins.
  • food-related signals: many animals make "food calls" that attract a mate, or offspring, or members of a social group generally to a food source. When parents are feeding offspring, the offspring often have begging responses (particularly when there are many offspring in a clutch or litter - this is well known in altricial songbirds, for example). Perhaps the most elaborate food-related signal is the dance language of honeybees studied by Karl von Frisch.
  • alarm calls: signals made in the presence of a threat from a predator, allowing all members of a social group (and often members of other species) to run for cover, become immobile, or gather into a group to reduce the risk of attack.
  • metacommunications: signals that modify the meaning of subsequent signals. The best known example is the play face in dogs, which signals that a subsequent aggressive signal is part of a play fight rather than a serious aggressive episode.

In ethology, agonistic behaviour is any social behaviour related to fighting, such as aggressive or submissive behaviours. ... In ethology, sociobiology and behavioral ecology, the term territory refers to any geographical area that an animal of a particular species consistently defends against conspecifics (and, occasionally, animals of other species). ... Dominance in the context of biology and anthropology is the state of having high social status relative to other individuals, who react submissively to dominant individuals. ... In biology, a pair bond is the strong affinity that develops in some species between the male and female in a breeding pair. ... Species Several, see text A gazelle is an antelope of the genus Gazella. ... IT FEELS REALLY GOOD IF YOU IMATATE THE ANIMALS. LOL! “Mounting” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 The Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus is a member of the grebe family of water birds. ... Sir Julian Sorell Huxley, FRS (June 22, 1887 – February 14, 1975) was a English biologist, author, Humanist and internationalist, known for his popularisations of science in books and lectures. ... “Geese” redirects here. ... Modern genera Aptenodytes Eudyptes Eudyptula Megadyptes Pygoscelis Spheniscus For prehistoric genera, see Systematics Some penguins are curious. ... For the flowering plant of this name, see Strelitzia Genera Cicinnurus Diphyllodes Epimachus Lophorina Manucodia Paradisaea Parotia Ptiloris Seleucidis Lesser Bird of Paradise Paradisaea minor (c)Roderick Eime The birds of paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes, found in Oceania. ... Genera Chloropipo Manacus Corapipo Chiroxiphia Pipra Lepidothrix Antilophia Masius Machaeropterus Xenopipo Heterocercus Neopelma Ilicura Tyranneutes Piprites The manakins are a family of some sixty small passerine bird species of subtropical and tropical Central and South America. ... In bird and mammal biology, altricial species are those whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile, have closed eyes, lack hair or down, and must be cared for by the adults. ... Honey bees learn and communicate in order to find food sources and for other means. ... Species Apis andreniformis Apis cerana, or eastern honey bee Apis dorsata, or giant honey bee Apis florea Apis koschevnikovi Apis laboriosa Apis mellifera, or western honey bee Apis nigrocincta Apis nuluensis Honey bees are a subset of bees which represent a far smaller fraction of bee diversity than most people... Karl von Frisch 1961 Karl Ritter von Frisch (1886-1982) was an Austrian ethologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973 with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz. ... Concerning animals, an alarm call refers to various vocalizations that they emit in response to danger. ... Trinomial name Canis lupus familiaris The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. ...

Interpretation of animal communication

It is important to note that whilst many gestures and actions have common, stereotypical meanings, researchers regularly seem to find that animal communication is often more complex and subtle than previously believed, and that the same gesture may have multiple distinct meanings depending on context and other behaviors. So generalizations such as "X means Y" are often, but not always accurate. For example, even a simple domestic dog's tail wag may be used in subtlely different ways to convey many meanings including: For the term used in computing, see stereotype (UML). ... Trinomial name Canis lupus familiaris The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. ...

  • Excitement
  • Anticipation
  • Playfulness
  • Contentment/enjoyment
  • Relaxation or anxiety
  • Questioning another animal or a human as to intentions
  • Tentative role assessment on meeting another animal
  • Reassurance ("I'm hoping to be friendly, are you?")
  • Brief acknowledgement ("I hear you", or "I'm aware and responsive if you want my attention")
  • Statement of interest ("I want that [food, toy, activity], if you're willing")
  • Uncertainty/apprehension
  • Submissive placation (if worried by a more dominant animal)

Combined with other body language, in a specific context, many gestures such as yawns, direction of vision, and so on all convey meaning. Thus statements that a particular action "means" something should always be interpreted to mean "often means" something. As with human beings, who may smile or hug or stand a particular way for multiple reasons, many animals reuse gestures too.


Intraspecies vs. interspecies communication

The sender and receiver of a communication may be of the same species or of different species. The majority of animal communication is intraspecific (between two or more individuals of the same species). However, there are some important instances of interspecific communication. Also, the possibility of interspecific communication, and the form it takes, is an important test of some theoretical models of animal communication. For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ...

A European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) singing
A European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) singing

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1569x1386, 287 KB) Summary Photographed by and copyright of (c) David Corby (User:Miskatonic, uploader) 2006 Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Bird song Animal communication User:Miskatonic ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1569x1386, 287 KB) Summary Photographed by and copyright of (c) David Corby (User:Miskatonic, uploader) 2006 Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Bird song Animal communication User:Miskatonic ... Binomial name Sturnus vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758 The European Starling or Common Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is a passerine bird in the family Sturnidae. ...

Intraspecies communication

The majority of animal communication occurs within a single species, and this is the context in which it has been most intensively studied.


Most of the forms and functions of communication described above are relevant to intra-species communication.


Interspecies communication

Many examples of communication take place between members of different species.


Prey to predator

If a prey animal moves or makes a noise in such a way that a predator can detect and capture it, that fits the definition of "communication" given above. Nonetheless, we do not feel comfortable talking about it as communication. Our discomfort suggests that we should modify the definition of communication in some way, either by saying that communication should generally be to the adaptive advantage of the communicator, or by saying that it involves something more than the inevitable consequence of the animal going about its ordinary life.


There are however some actions of prey species that are clearly communications to actual or potential predators. A good example is warning colouration: species such as wasps that are capable of harming potential predators are often brightly coloured, and this modifies the behaviour of the predator, who either instinctively or as the result of experience will avoid attacking such an animal. Some forms of mimicry fall in the same category: for example hoverflies are coloured in the same way as wasps, and although they are unable to sting, the strong avoidance of wasps by predators gives the hoverfly some protection. There are also behavioral changes that act in a similar way to warning colouration. For example, canines such as wolves and coyotes may adopt an aggressive posture, such as growling with their teeth bared, to indicate they will fight if necessary, and rattlesnakes use their well-known rattle to warn potential predators of their poisonous bite. Sometimes, a behavioral change and warning colouration will be combined, as in certain species of amphibians which have a brightly coloured belly, but on which the rest of their body is coloured to blend in with their surroundings. When confronted with a potential threat, they show their belly, indicating that they are poisonous in some way. The bright colours of this Yellow-winged Darter dragonfly serve as a warning to predators of its noxious taste. ... For other uses, see Wasp (disambiguation). ... Plate from Henry Walter Bates (1862) illustrating Batesian mimicry between Dismorphia species (top row, third row) and various Ithomiini (Nymphalidae) (second row, bottom row). ... Genera many genera about 5,000 species The flower flies or hoverflies are a family of flies (Diptera), scientifically termed Syrphidae. ... Wolf Wolf Man Mount Wolf Wolf Prizes Wolf Spider Wolf 424 Wolf 359 Wolf Point Wolf-herring Frank Wolf Friedrich Wolf Friedrich August Wolf Hugo Wolf Johannes Wolf Julius Wolf Max Franz Joseph Cornelius Wolf Maximilian Wolf Rudolf Wolf Thomas Wolf As Name Wolf Breidenbach Wolf Hirshorn Other The call... For other uses, see Coyote (disambiguation). ... Species 27 species; see list of rattlesnake species and subspecies. ... For other uses, see Amphibian (disambiguation). ...


A more controversial example of prey to predator communication is stotting, a highly noticeable form of running shown by some antelopes such as Thomson's gazelle in the presence of a predator; it has been argued that this demonstrates to the predator that the particular prey individual is fit and healthy and therefore not worth pursuing. This article is about the herbivorous mammals. ... Binomial name Günther, 1884 Male Thompsons gazelle. ...


Predator to prey

Some predators communicate to prey in ways that change their behaviour and make them easier to catch, in effect deceiving them.A well-known example is the angler fish, which has a fleshy growth protruding from its forehead and dangling in front of its jaws; smaller fish try to take the lure, and in so doing are perfectly placed for the angler fish to eat them. Anglerfish is the common name for the 200+ species that comprise the bony fish order Lophiiformes. ...


Symbiotic species

Interspecies communication also occurs in various kinds of mutualism and symbiosis. For example, in the cleaner fish/grouper system, groupers signal their availability for cleaning by adopting a particular posture at a cleaning station. In biology, mutualism is an interaction between two or more species, where both species derive benefit. ... For other uses, see Symbiosis (disambiguation). ... The cleaner wrasses Labroides dimidiatus removing dead skin and external parasites from the grouper Epinephelus tukula. ... Genera Acanthistius Alphestes Anyperidon Caprodon Cephalopholis Cromileptes Dermatolepis Epinephelus Gonioplectrus Gracila HypoplectrodesLiopropoma Mycteroperca Niphon Paranthias Plectropomus Saloptia Triso Variola For the computer program, see Grouper (Windows application). ... A cleaning station is a location where fish, and other marine life, congregate to be cleaned. ...


Human/animal communication

Various ways in which humans interpret the behaviour of domestic animals, or give commands to them, fit the definition of interspecific communication. Depending on the context, they might be considered to be predator to prey communication, or to reflect forms of commensalism. The recent experiments on animal language are perhaps the most sophisticated attempt yet to establish human/animal communication, though their relation to natural animal communication is uncertain. Animal language is the modeling of human language in non human animal systems. ...


Other aspects of animal communication

Evolution of communication

The importance of communication is clear from the fact that animals have evolved elaborate body parts to facilitate it. They include some of the most striking structures in the animal kingdom, such as the peacock's tail. Birdsong appears to have brain structures entirely devoted to its production. But even the red spot on a herring gull's bill, and the modest but characteristic bowing behaviour that displays it, require evolutionary explanation. Peacock re-directs here; for alternate uses see Peacock (disambiguation). ... Bird song refers to the sounds, usually melodious to the human ear, made by many birds of the order Passeriformes as a form of communication. ... Binomial name Pontoppidan, 1763 The Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, is a large gull which breeds across North America, Europe and Asia. ...


There are two aspects to the required explanation:

  • identifying a route by which an animal that lacked the relevant feature or behaviour could acquire it;
  • identifying the selective pressure that makes it adaptive for animals to develop structures that facilitate communication, emit communications, and respond to them.

Significant contributions to the first of these problems were made by Konrad Lorenz and other early ethologists. By comparing related species within groups, they showed that movements and body parts that in the primitive forms had no communicative function could be "captured" in a context where communication would be functional for one or both partners, and could evolve into a more elaborate, specialised form. For example, Desmond Morris showed in a study of grass finches[citation needed] that a beak-wiping response occurred in a range of species, serving a preening function, but that in some species this had been elaborated into a courtship signal. Lorenz being followed by his imprinted geese Konrad Zacharias Lorenz (November 7, 1903 in Vienna – February 27, 1989 in Vienna) was an Austrian zoologist, animal psychologist, and ornithologist. ... Ethology is the scientific study of animal behaviour (particularly of social animals such as primates and canids), and is a branch of zoology. ... Dr Desmond Morris (born 24 January 1928 in the village of Purton, UK) is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist. ... Genera Many, see text Finches are passerine birds, often seed-eating, found chiefly in the northern hemisphere and Africa. ... A domestic cat grooming itself by licking its fur clean Personal grooming, sometimes called preening, or simply grooming, is the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The second problem has been more controversial. The early ethologists assumed that communication occurred for the good of the species as a whole, but this would require a process of group selection which is believed to be mathematically impossible in the evolution of sexually reproducing animals. Sociobiologists argued that behaviours that benefited a whole group of animals might emerge as a result of selection pressures acting solely on the individual. A gene-centered view of evolution proposes that behaviors that enabled a gene to become wider established within a population would become positively selected for, even if their effect on individuals or the species as a whole was detrimental.[1] In the case of communication, an important discussion by John Krebs and Richard Dawkins established hypotheses for the evolution of such apparently altruistic or mutualistic communications as alarm calls and courtship signals to emerge under individual selection. This led to the realisation that communication might not always be "honest" (indeed, there are some obvious examples where it is not, as in mimicry). The possibility of evolutionarily stable dishonest communication has been the subject of much controversy, with Amotz Zahavi in particular arguing that it cannot exist in the long term. Sociobiologists have also been concerned with the evolution of apparently excessive signalling structures such as the peacock's tail; it is widely thought that these can only emerge as a result of sexual selection, which can create a positive feedback process that leads to the rapid exaggeration of a characteristic that confers an advantage in a competitive mate-selection situation. In evolutionary biology, group selection refers to the idea that alleles can become fixed or spread in a population because of the benefits they bestow on groups, regardless of the fitness of individuals within that group. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... The gene-centered view of evolution, gene selection theory or selfish gene theory holds that natural selection acts through differential survival of competing genes, increasing the frequency of those alleles whose phenotypic effects successfully promote their own propagation. ... For other uses, see Gene (disambiguation). ... Sir John Richard Krebs (born 1945) is a British biologist and a Fellow of the Royal Society. ... Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... For the ethical doctrine, see Altruism (ethics). ... A mimic is any species that has evolved to appear similar to another successful species in order to dupe predators into avoiding the mimic, or dupe prey into approaching the mimic. ... Amotz Zahavi is an Israeli Evolutionary Biologist from Tel-Aviv University, and one of the founders of the Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature. ... Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ... Positive feedback is a feedback system in which the system responds to the perturbation in the same direction as the perturbation (It is sometimes referred to as cumulative causation). ...


Cognitive aspects

Ethologists and sociobiologists have characteristically analysed animal communication in terms of more or less automatic responses to stimuli, without raising the question of whether the animals concerned understand the meaning of the signals they emit and receive. That is a key question in animal cognition. There are some signalling systems that seem to demand a more advanced understanding. A much discussed example is the use of alarm calls by vervet monkeys. Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney showed that these animals emit different alarm calls in the presence of different predators (leopards, eagles, and snakes), and the monkeys that hear the calls respond appropriately - but that this ability develops over time, and also takes into account the experience of the individual emitting the call. Metacommunication, discussed above, also seems to require a more sophisticated cognitive process. Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. ... Species Chlorocebus sabaceus Chlorocebus aethiops Chlorocebus djamdjamensis Chlorocebus tantalus Chlorocebus pygerythrus Chlorocebus cynosuros The vervet monkeys or green monkeys are primates from the family of Old World monkeys. ... For other uses, see Leopard (disambiguation). ... Genera Several, see below. ... For other uses, see Snake (disambiguation). ...


A recently published paper[2] demonstrated that bottlenose dolphins can recognize identity information from whistles even when otherwise stripped of the characteristics of the whistle; making dolphins the only animals other than humans that have been shown to transmit identity information independent of the caller’s voice or location. The paper concludes that:

The fact that signature whistle shape carries identity information independent from voice features presents the possibility to use these whistles as referential signals, either addressing individuals or referring to them, similar to the use of names in humans. Given the cognitive abilities of bottlenose dolphins, their vocal learning and copying skills, and their fission–fusion social structure, this possibility is an intriguing one that demands further investigation.

V. M. Janik, et al. [2]

Animal communication and human behaviour

Another controversial issue is the extent to which humans have behaviours that resemble animal communication, or whether all such communication has disappeared as a result of our linguistic capacity. Some of our bodily features - eyebrows, beards and moustaches, deep adult male voices, perhaps female breasts - strongly resemble adaptations to producing signals. Ethologists such as Iraneaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt have argued that facial gestures such as smiling, grimacing, and the eye-brow flash on greeting are universal human communicative signals that can be related to corresponding signals in other primates. Given the recency with which spoken language has emerged, it is likely that human body language does include some more or less involuntary responses that have a similar origin to the communication we see in other animals. Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeld (born June 15, 1928 in Vienna, Austria) is an ethologist. ... Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ... For other uses, see Body language (disambiguation). ...


Humans also often seek to mimic animals' communicative signals in order to interact with the animals. For example, cats have a mild affiliative response involving closing their eyes; humans often close their eyes towards a pet cat to establish a tolerant relationship. Stroking, petting and rubbing pet animals are all actions that probably work through their natural patterns of interspecific communication. It has been suggested that Residential pets be merged into this article or section. ...


Animal communication and linguistics

For linguistics, the interest of animal communication systems lies in their similarities to and differences from human language: Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ...

  1. Human languages are characterized for having a double articulation (in the characterization of French linguist André Martinet). It means that complex linguistic expressions can be broken down in meaningful elements (such as morphemes and words), which in turn are composed of smallest phonetic elements that affect meaning, called phonemes. Animal signals, however, do not exhibit this dual structure.
  2. In general, animal utterances are responses to external stimuli, and do not refer to matters removed in time and space. Matters of relevance at a distance, such as distant food sources, tend to be indicated to other individuals by body language instead, for example wolf activity before a hunt, or the information conveyed in honeybee dance language. It is therefore unclear to what extent utterances are automatic responses and to what extent deliberate intent plays a part.
  3. Human language is largely learned culturally, while animal communication systems are known largely by instinct.
  4. In contrast to human language, animal communication systems are usually not able to express conceptual generalizations. (Cetaceans and some primates may be notable exceptions).
  5. Human languages combine elements to produce new messages (a property known as creativity). One factor in this is that much human language growth is based upon conceptual ideas and hypothetical structures, both being far greater capabilities in humans than animals. This appears far less common in animal communication systems, although current research into animal culture is still an ongoing process with many new discoveries.

A recent and interesting area of development is the discovery that the use of syntax in language, and the ability to produce "sentences", is not limited to humans either. The first good evidence of syntax in non-humans, reported[3] in 2006, is from the putty-nosed monkey (Cercopithecus Nictitans) of Nigeria. This is the first evidence that some animals can take discrete units of communication, and build them up into a sequence which then carries a different meaning from the individual "words": André Martinet (Saint-Alban-des-Villards, 12 April 1908 - Ch�tay-Malabry, 16 July 1999) was a French linguist who was influential for his work on structural linguistics. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... For other uses, see Word (disambiguation). ... In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ... For other uses, see Body language (disambiguation). ... Wolf Wolf Man Mount Wolf Wolf Prizes Wolf Spider Wolf 424 Wolf 359 Wolf Point Wolf-herring Frank Wolf Friedrich Wolf Friedrich August Wolf Hugo Wolf Johannes Wolf Julius Wolf Max Franz Joseph Cornelius Wolf Maximilian Wolf Rudolf Wolf Thomas Wolf As Name Wolf Breidenbach Wolf Hirshorn Other The call... Honey bees learn and communicate in order to find food sources and for other means. ... Cultural learning is the way a group of people within a society or culture tend to learn and pass on new information. ... For other uses, see Instinct (disambiguation). ... Suborders Mysticeti Odontoceti (see text) The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. ... Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ... In a draw in a mountainous region, a shepherd guides a flock of about 20 sheep amidst scrub and olive trees. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, a sentence is a unit of language, characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb. ...

The putty-nosed monkeys have two main alarm sounds. A sound known onomatopoeiacally as the 'pyow' warns against a lurking leopard, and a coughing sound that scientists call a 'hack' is used when an eagle is hovering nearby.
"Observationally and experimentally we have demonstrated that this sequence [of up to three 'pyows' followed by up to four 'hacks'] serves to elicit group movement... the 'pyow-hack' sequence means something like "let's go!" [a command telling others to move]... The implications are that primates at least may be able to ignore the usual relationship between an individual alarm call, and the meaning it might convey under certain circumstances... To our knowledge this is the first good evidence of a syntax-like natural communication system in a non-human species."

For the supervillain, see Onomatopoeia (comics). ... For other uses, see Leopard (disambiguation). ... Genera Several, see below. ...

References

  1. ^ Discussed at length by Richard Dawkins under the subject of his book The Selfish Gene
  2. ^ a b V. M. Janik, L. S. Sayigh, and R. S. Wells: "Signature whistle shape conveys identity information to bottlenose dolphins", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 103 no 21, May 23, 2006
  3. ^ The Times May 18 2006, p.3

Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... Original book cover from the painting The Expectant Valley by zoologist Desmond Morris The Selfish Gene is a very popular and somewhat controversial book on evolutionary theory by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. ... The Times is a national newspaper published daily in the United Kingdom since 1788. ...

See also

Forms of activity and interpersonal relations in sociology can be described as follows: first and most basic are animal-like behaviors, i. ... Zoomusicology is a field of musicology and zoology or more specifically, zoosemiotics. ... Emotion in animals considers the question, do animals feel, in the sense we understand it? Different answers have been suggested throughout human history, by animal lovers, scientists, and others who interact with animals, but the core question has proven hard to answer since we can neither obtain spoken answers, nor... Ethology is the scientific study of animal behaviour (particularly of social animals such as primates and canids), and is a branch of zoology. ... // Telepathic animal communication, also known as interspecies telepathic communication is said to be the ability to telepathically connect with a being of another species and communicate with them. ... Animal training is a method to teach animals to perform specific acts in response to conditions or stimuli. ... Animal language is the modeling of human language in non human animal systems. ... Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. ... Bioacoustics is a cross-disciplinary science that combines biology and acoustics. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Evolutionary linguistics is the scientific study of the origins and development of language. ... FOXP2 (forkhead box P2) is a gene that is implicated in the development of language skills,[1] including grammatical competence. ... The origin of language (glottogony) is a topic that has attracted considerable speculation throughout human history. ... An absolute proto-language, as defined by linguist Derek Bickerton, is a primitive form of communication lacking: a fully-developed syntax tense, aspect, auxiliary verbs, etc. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Blackbird (Turdus merula), singing male. ... Talking birds are birds who can imitate human speech. ... Research into non-human great ape language has involved teaching gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans to communicate with human beings and with each other using sign language, physical tokens, and lexigrams; see Yerkish. ... Yerkish is a language developed for use by primates at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Animal Communication Books (4093 words)
Animal communication is explored as a primary tool, as is developing a variety of experiential skills through meeting animal guides, exploring animal myths, and observing and participating in animal encounters (from meeting animals in the everyday world to in our dreams and via shamanic voyaging techniques).
This is not a step-by-step book about animal communication; rather, it is the story of how she came to be who she is, and what she’s learned along the way that can help you more deeply observe and understand animals.
Animal communicator Marta Williams says this is the basis of animal communication and it's a skill anyone can learn.
animal communication: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (4270 words)
In animal communication studies, adequate tests often rely upon direct evidence—that is, evidence obtained by artificially generating the signal presumed responsible for a given behavioral act, providing that signal to a receptive animal, and actually evoking a specific behavioral act in a predictable manner.
Animal communication is any behaviour on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behaviour of another animal.
Some animals have glands on their bodies whose sole function appears to be to deposit scent marks: for example Mongolian gerbils have a scent gland on their stomachs, and a characteristic ventral rubbing action that deposits scent from it.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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