Do you suspect that your cat chats with other felines or that your dog collects intel on the canines of the neighborhood? You are probably right. Many animals have developed their own unique language for communicating with members of their species. We have found some of the more impressive and bizarre examples of this critter chatter; it's a lot more than just "bow-wow" and "meow."
Researchers have always been impressed by the range of dolphin language. The animals can speak through clicks, squeals and calls far outside our realm of hearing. Dolphins can also communicate at various frequencies at once. Humans may finally been catching up to these critters, though. Scientists recently created a device that can potentially speak to dolphins. Did you hear that, Flipper? No worries—we'll talk soon!
PRAIRIE DOG PRATTLE
Meet the wunderkind of rodents: the prairie dog. These animals are suspected of having their own language made up of complex calls that change based on the predator threatening them. Researchers have heard the animals come up with new calls on the spot when they spy a new threat. They believe that there is more to prairie dogs' calls than warnings and are working on decoding the rest of their language. (Discovery)
SHAKE YOUR BOOTY
Bees are always abuzz, but when they have something to actually say they rely on the art of dance. Bees use a "waggle dance" to communicate to others where food is located. This is done by shaking their behinds at certain intervals, to show how far it is from the hive and in a specific direction to show the source's location to the sun. (Guardian)
WAVE LIKE YOU DO CARE
Fiddler crabs aren't much for conversation, but they sure are friendly. A male attracts a mate by waving his large claw in the air to get a female's attention. Lady crabs respond best to the males who wave the fastest, so it is good to be over-eager. (Scientific American)
Birds enlists a potpourri of calls, with each species favoring a certain song. Bird calls are used for many different reasons and are often affected by environment. For example, skylarks use their calls to warn predators that they will be a tough fight. Other fliers use their language to express a desire to mate or to claim their territory. (PBS)
Caribbean Reef Squids aren't interested in words, opting to wear their feelings on their sleeves instead. To communicate with the small group they travel with, these squids will change the color and the texture of their skin to relay messages. The sea creatures have different looks for mating, alarm, fear and more. (Marine Bio)
SWEET SOOTHING WHALES
Whale songs may be great for helping us get to sleep, but the aquatic mammals have a lot to say to each other. Scientists who have studied the moans and chirps of whales found that inside the recurring themes of the animals' song there are also phrases. This means that whales have a hierarchical language, using syntax and grammar, like that of humans. However, researchers are still unsure of what whales are actually saying. (New Scientist)
POSE FOR ME
Sea lions have a dual form of communication, vocalizations and posturing. These animals use barks, growls and grunts to mark territory, attract mates and locate their young. Sea lions' less conventional form of communication is through posturing. The males will strike a variety of poses to communicate what territory is theirs, while all sea lions use posturing for daily messages as well. (Busch Gardens)
While many monkeys are known for their language skills, Diana monkeys have shown true talent. These animals combine calls, using grammar to deliver specific messages. Diana monkeys have unique calls for each predator, which they combine with a call letting the other know how close the enemy is to them. Diana monkeys are also great listeners and are able to understand the communication of several different species. (PBS)
SPEAKERS OF THE SEA
New Zealand fish are a chatty bunch. Scientists from the country recently recorded a series of sounds coming from the water and found them to be fish talk. Several of the fish in New Zealand's water have developed what appears to be language using chirps, grunts and pops. The meaning of the sounds is still unknown, but scientists hope to get in on the conversation soon. (Stuff.co.nz)
ROCK OUT WITH YOUR TRUNK OUT
Researchers recently found that elephants can sing like humans and use the talent to talk to one another. Elephants use low-frequency rumbles that other pack members can hear from six miles away. Now, that is some serious crooning. Baby elephants also use heavy-metal-like screeches to get attention and communicate.
Next: 12 Animal Psych Disorders
SCRATCH AND SNIFF
Canines know to break out the puppy dog eyes when they want to communicate with us, but it's a little different when they're communicating with each other. Pooches often "talk" through posturing and facial expressions to let other barkers know how they feel. Dogs also depend on odor to get their message across, like marking to leave behind messages of dominance. (Pet Place)
12 Animal Languagesanimals are people too
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