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Animal communications

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posted on Mar, 29 2013 @ 10:04 PM
Hello ATS and welcome to the crazy word of animal communications. Have you ever wondered what your pet might be trying to tell you? The bark of a dog or the meow of your cat just might have a meaning that you just don't know. Do they understand each other? As a person that likes animals I did a bit of research and would like to share what I found. Animals have a way of communicating as diverse as the animals themselves.
We humans owe our success in this word to our communication skills. We talk, write, and we use body language to get our message out. Animals might not be so different then us.
First lets look at the different ways animals communicate.

Broadly speaking, "communication" can be defined as any action taken by an animal (or plant, or other organism) that alters the behavior of another animal without using physical force. Communication happens when a sender passes information to a receiver, through a physical medium that can distort or degrade the message, or contain competing messages. There are three broad categories of communication. Signals are where the sender actively tries to pass a specific message to specific receivers. Cues, such as the bright coloration of monarch butterflies that tell bird predators that they are poisonous and taste bad, are always "on" and take no effort on the part of the sender to send. Signs, such as footprints, aren't intended to communicate anything but nevertheless provide information that another animal can act upon.
Ways in Which Animals Communicate
This link talks about a few methods animals communicate.

Visual Ways of Communicating To attract mates, fireflies produce flashes of light. Males signal in flight, while females respond to males that they like from the ground or bushes. Each species has a different pattern so they can tell each other apart

Examples of Audial Communication Rattlesnakes use the rattles on the ends of their tails to warn other animals of their presence. They do this mainly to avoid being stepped on. Male crickets chirp to attract mates and warn off rival males. They do this by rubbing the top of one wing against the comblike teeth along the bottom of the other. Many whales and dolphins are highly social animals with a variety of calls to communicate with one another. In some species, individual animals have "signature" calls that are like their names

Bodies in Motion Honeybees have highly sophisticated dances to signal other members of their hive on the location, quantity, and quality of food sources that they've found.

The bee dance is interesting and I found more information of bee communication.
Bees Buzz Each Other, but Not the Way You Think

The electric fields that build up on honey bees as they fly, flutter their wings, or rub body parts together may allow the insects to talk to each other, a new study suggests. Tests show that the electric fields, which can be quite strong, deflect the bees' antennae, which, in turn, provide signals to the brain through specialized organs at their bases.

So Bees use electrical signals for communication as well as body motion. It looks like a few different animals have the ability to detect electrical signals. Look at the platypus. If this creature is not weird enough. It can detect electrical signals.

Electrolocation Monotremes (for the other species, see Echidna) are the only mammals (apart from at least one species of dolphin)[30] known to have a sense of electroreception: they locate their prey in part by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions. The platypus' electroreception is the most sensitive of any monotreme.[31][32] The electroreceptors are located in rostrocaudal rows in the skin of the bill, while mechanoreceptors (which detect touch) are uniformly distributed across the bill. The electrosensory area of the cerebral cortex is contained within the tactile somatosensory area, and some cortical cells receive input from both electroreceptors and mechanoreceptors, suggesting a close association between the tactile and electric senses.

The shark and other marine animals have the ability to detect electrical signals. Some fish and the electric eel have the ability to send out messages using different frequencies.

Weakly electric fish live in muddy water and only become active at night. In this lightless environment, weakly electric fish use their electric sense like many other animals use sight or hearing, to “see”where they are going, to find prey, and communicate with each other. They can distinguish the electrical discharge of their own species, and can further determine the size, sex, maturity and even possibly the individual identity of any fish of their own species that passes by. Eachfish, in other words, broadcasts many aspects of its identity influctuations and characteristics of its electric field. This sense, howevehas its limits.

The animal communication project
This is a very good web site by Steven Hart. There is a lot of info on the subject. I recommend reading it.
Another form of animal communication I found interesting is bioluminescence. This is when a animal creates light to get a message out.

The giant squid uses bioluminescence to hunt its prey, according to new deap-sea observations using a high definition underwater video camera system. The findings are published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Read more at

"The most interesting bioluminescence observed was a long glow when approaching (4.4—8.5 s) and several short glows separated by intervals when wandering around the bait without attacking. We believe that this behaviour may represent attempts at communication with conspecifics using bioluminescence," the add. Read more at

Giant squid use bioluminescence to hunt prey, communicate
So it looks like animals have their own unique way of communicating with each other in ways we are just starting to understand. Here are some links for understanding your pet cat or dog a bit better.
Why Do Dogs Bark? 10 Dog Barks Translated
I found this web page interesting.
Animal Communication
And I found this web page fun to read. Warning this web page uses language not suitable for all ages.
5 Eerily Sophisticated Ways Animals Communicate
I like this one.

Alcon Caterpillars Are Smooth-Talking Con Artists The caterpillar of the alcon blue butterfly is kind of like Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act -- it uses the power of song to disguise its true identity and trick others into caring for it.

edit on 29-3-2013 by d8track because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 12:40 AM
Thank you for the interesting read and especially the link about cat communication. I love cats, live with two of them and sometimes in a funny mood try and copy the sound they make which is so much fun because often I get a surprised look from one of my cats in return and then I can't help giggling and wondering what I may have just "said" to her, because of course I can never really make the sound exactly like she did. It's a funny thing and I think she enjoys it just as much. Cats are so adorable and funny and soooo patient with us humans.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:01 AM
reply to post by Emarie

Cats are very interesting. I had a cat that was cool. It would meow too me like it was talking. I would answer it as if we were having a conversation. It was fun. Just trying to think what it means.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:21 AM
Animal communication might be between you and your pet or your pets together. When I was a kid we had lots of pets. We had a myna bird and a dog that had a good communication network. The bird new if someone was on the property and make a sound the dog understood. They had a good system.
If you have a story about you and your pets share it with us.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 10:45 AM
Neat thread and one of my favorite subjects. We've only scratched the surface of learning how plants and animals communicate. One could fairly say that they are all in a state of constant communication. I've spent many years studying animal tracks and the interesting stories they tell. While we see tracks with our eyes other animals utilize different senses to follow their game: the wolves by smell, the rattlesnake by "tasting" the air with it's tongue and also by using thermal imagining.

Smell is a primary sense among animals relegated to a back shelf role with humans. Plants send chemical messages that can tell other plants of invading insects and diseases. The bright colors of many insects ward off predators with the message "don't eat me - I'm poison".

Feeding birds and chipmunks has given me countless hours of appreciation and I discover birds will very quickly learn a whistle call that you give when you put out food. Building trust over years I found titmice and chickadees to be the most amicable of all birds who will land on your hand to get a peanut. Thanks for an interesting thread. It will be fun to see what others have learned.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:28 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Thanks for the input. I did not even look at the method plants use to communicate. I guess when you go for a walk in the forest its not just the animals talking about you it is also the forest itself. It is amazing just how many life forms use chemical communication. The single cell organisms like the ameba use chemicals to find a mate or mark a good food source so others can find it.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:32 PM
reply to post by d8track

I want to know why my cat jumps on my head at 0630hrs every morning - I push her off and back she comes. So I stumble out of bed - trundle downstairs and open the back door for her - she follows me, looks outside and runs back upstairs. I mean what is the point of that !!! ????

Cats are the most contrary creatures in the world. they say things like:
'' meow - let me out wake up , let me out, wake up, mow now now meow '' then as you open the door they say
'' meow you expect me to go outside in that weather - no way - meow''

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 02:07 PM
reply to post by HelenConway

Cats are far more complicated to understand than dogs. If a dog wakes you up in the morning you know nature is calling. Cats just want the attention. The house is quite and It is ready to play. It succeeds to get the attention it wants. What I don't understand with cats is why they wake you up at night by needing you with there claws swaying back and fourth and purring. They look like they are in some type of trance.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 04:30 PM
reply to post by d8track

The above is my cat to a tee !!!

From Simon's Cat.

Simon Tofield at

is a cat watcher extraordinaire IMO

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 04:35 PM

Originally posted by d8track
reply to post by HelenConway

What I don't understand with cats is why they wake you up at night by needing you with there claws swaying back and fourth and purring. They look like they are in some type of trance.

This is for you courtesy of Simon Tofield site too .. I hope it helps you understand your furry, pawing friend...

Plus you may be interested in the work of Rupert Sheldrake a British Biologist and researcher.
he has been studying this subject for years -

Psychic Pets

Can pets still sense when their human companions are on the way home, even when familiar cues and schedules are changed?

The idea of a simple, inexpensive experiment to test how pets know when their caretakers are coming home came to me in a conversation with a sceptical friend, Nicholas Humphrey. I kept coming across stories about this intriguing phenomenon, and I asked him what he thought was going on. To my surprise he did not dispute the phenomenon itself; indeed he told me that his own dog seemed to have uncanny powers. But he was quick to add that there was nothing really mysterious going on; pets were good at responding to subtle cues and often had surprisingly sharp senses.

This conversation sparked off the idea for a simple experiment. If a pet responds well in advance of the arrival of its caretaker, the possibility that its behavior is explicable simply in terms of routine anticipation or sensory stimuli can be ruled out by coming home by an unusual means and at an unusual time. Moreover, to rule out the possibility that the pet is picking up the expectations of the person waiting at home, that person should not know when the absent member of the family is due to return....

Further research in partnership with pets.....

From the Rupert Sheldrake site as cited above.

edit on 30-3-2013 by HelenConway because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 05:01 PM
reply to post by HelenConway

OK my cat is acting in a very contrary manner right now. She has plonked herself within my comfort zone or discomfort zone, she is purring loudly and staring at me. I ignored her so she jumped onto my bedside table and knocked a few objects on to the floor with her paw.

She then looked around and plonked herself in the same position as above again I am ignoring her - so she is starting to fiddle with my cuff and stare at me - it is doing my head in !!

Now I am going to have to go downstairs as she requires me to and I bet my bottom dolllar that I open that door - she looks out and refuses to budge - hence a collosal waste of my time !!!

Cats are incorrigible....

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 05:14 PM
reply to post by HelenConway

Thanks for the videos. They made me laugh. I think they could summarize most cats behavior. Its fun to look at the simple things in life like what animals are thinking when they are trying to tell you something.

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 05:40 PM
It is interesting how we can learn so much from animals and there forms of communication. The more we understand how they behave the more we can use to our advantage. I found this article interesting. It is not about animals but it shows how we can learn from them.
Robot ants: mini-machines mimic insect colony

The robots do not resemble their insect counterparts; they are tiny cubes equipped with two watch motors to power the wheels that enable them to move. But their collective behaviour is remarkably ant-like Learning from natureThere are many other research and engineering projects that take inspiration from nature to solve problems or design robots, as Dr Paul Graham, a biologist from the University of Sussex, explained

posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 10:37 PM

Originally posted by HelenConway
reply to post by d8track

I want to know why my cat jumps on my head at 0630hrs every morning - I push her off and back she comes. So I stumble out of bed - trundle downstairs and open the back door for her - she follows me, looks outside and runs back upstairs. I mean what is the point of that !!! ????

One of my cats KNOWS she can get me to wake up when she jumps on my desk because that one will then creek in a certain way, and once she sees I am awake she runs to the bed and acts all innocent and: Hey, you are awake, what a great and unexpected thing at this early, early hour, now come on, it's breakfast time ...

My other cat is a great one to talk to. She will listen with this certain look on her face that is all calm and pleased and all-knowing and soothing, like she is an old woman and I am a child, (it always makes me laugh, the way she looks like she is human, how I can see the old soul in her eyes (my other cat's eyes don't look like that, they are more child-like) and every time in the middle of my "conversation" with her when I say: "Gosh, you are so adorable, I love you" then she blinks very slowly. She only does that when I say "I love you" and it is SO cute. I take it as if she says: I love you too, kid.

Man, cats are great.

posted on Mar, 31 2013 @ 11:56 PM
Other cat people might not know this but...

Cats do not meow to other cats naturally, its something they only do to communicate with us... which to my mind means they understand how we communicate and can adapt their way to ours. Which is an interesting insight.

Theres far more going on in the mind of animals than we could ever hope to understand, to stand their as people used to do decades back and say how primitive animal communication is, is laughable to me. Human communication is while complex, extremely limited in how its delivered (the old, it doesnt do it how a human would therefore it is stupid, since humans are the pinnacle of creation argument). Even so, if you look at humans even we have instinctual sub conscious language layers when communicating with others of our species, facial expressions, body posture, tone of voice etc.

What ever we have, animals have to have as well and more so in my opinion (heck no human can smell anothers butt and instantly know a long list of stuff about that person, like most animals are capable of... or maybe we can).

Watching 2 cats sitting perfectly happy near each other, then suddenly one gets agitated growls, flattens their ears then scurries off all the while looking at the other one for an attack, while the other doesnt even appear (to me as a human) to move or do anything to warrant the reaction, shows something is going on outside the scope of the human perception.

Where so far behind in understanding these sorts of things its maddening... if only we had had a different attitude to it all back when we as a species got our scientific wheels in gear, imagine what we might have now in terms of inter species communication, granted imagine what we will have in the future.

I look forward to it, granted alot of us rightly or wrongly believe we have some form of mutual dialogue already with other animals such as our pets.
edit on 1-4-2013 by BigfootNZ because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 1 2013 @ 12:50 PM
reply to post by BigfootNZ

That is a interesting point you have with the cats meow. The only times I can recall a cat meowing to another is when a mother cat could not find its kitten or when there is a territory stand off. I guess the stand off is a bit more then a meow.
The point you made with cats learning to meow from us is interesting. Did you know that wild dogs like the wolf rarely bark. Dogs seem to of learned to bark with domestication. Animals don't have the option to go to grammar school so they have to learn to communicate from there surroundings and there instincts. If a bark or a meow will get them a meal or attention they will use it.

posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 08:54 PM
It is funny how some animals communicate so much like us and some that would offend us.

The one like us.

Hints of Human Language Heard in Lip-Smacking Monkey Talk

Sounds made by a little-known monkey living in Ethiopia’s mountain grasslands may hint at the origins of human speech. Unlike most other primates, which communicate in strings of short, relatively flat-toned syllables, geladas possess uncannily human-like vocal tempos and undulations. “When we first started working with geladas in 2006, we noticed sounds like people were talking around you,” said evolutionary biologist Thore Bergman of the University of Michigan. “Most primates only make a few sounds, but geladas produce a complex stream with a rhythm similar to language.”

And the ones that are not.

Study says beavers use scent to detect when trespassers could be a threat

For territorial animals, such as beavers, "owning" a territory ensures access to food, mates and nest sites. Defending that territory can involve fights which cause injury or death. How does an animal decide whether to take on an opponent or not? A new study by Helga Tinnesand and her colleagues from the Telemark University College in Norway has found that the anal gland secretions of beavers contain information about age and social status which helps other beavers gauge their level of response to the perceived threat. The study is published online today in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Read more at:

posted on Apr, 29 2013 @ 11:22 PM
Strongest Evidence of Animal Culture Seen in Monkeys and Whales.

This is interesting.


Until fairly recently, many scientists thought that only humans had culture, but that idea is now being crushed by an avalanche of recent research with animals. Two new studies in monkeys and whales take the work further, showing how new cultural traditions can be formed and how conformity might help a species survive and prosper. The findings may also help researchers distinguish the differences between animal and human cultures.

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