Noting that speech is not the only way of communication, scientists believe that one day we will solve the communication between animals and understand them better.
Gorilla Koko can understand 2,000 words, but she cannot express herself verbally because her physiological structure is not suitable, but she can express her intentions with sign language. So this 40-year-old female gorilla speaks 3 languages in total with her own gorilla language, English and sign language!
She can also not only talk about her needs such as food, but also the emotions we associate with people such as love, sadness, love, mourning and embarrassment.
Until his death in 2007, the African gray parrot Alex was able to say 150 words perfectly, and could produce new meanings by using different colors and shapes.
Of course, it can be much easier for a human to learn the language of dolphins than to learn the sign language of a dolphin. So instead of teaching animals human communication systems, wouldn’t it be better to teach humans to decipher animal language?
At this point, scientists are trying to learn the languages of animals such as dolphins, elephants, gorillas and dogs. One of the researchers even came close to deciphering the prairie dog language. However, there is a very important obstacle to overcome: the idea that animals do not have a language of their own.
the language of prairie dogs
Northern Arizona University biologist Constantine Sclobodchikoff is a scientist who studies prairie dogs in different parts of the United States, and his work over the past 30 years contains exciting information about the communication of prairie dogs, a rodent species.
For example, when they see a predatory enemy, prairie dogs warn each other by making loud noises. These sounds, which are almost all the same for an untrained ear, actually have different meanings.
In the study, the sounds made by prairie dogs when the predator approached were recorded and played over the loudspeaker when the predator was not. Prairie dogs were seen running and hiding when they heard this sound. Thus, it was understood that these voices contained special messages.
So far, everything may seem like the usual, ordinary warnings, but things start from this point. Researchers discovered that prairie dogs produce different calls for different types of predators. For example, warnings are different for coyotes, humans and domestic dogs. In addition to their species, they do not neglect to give information about color, size and shape. That is, they can distinguish between a person who is overweight, wearing a long white shirt, and a person who is thin, wearing a short, green shirt.
The most interesting thing is that even for a brand new object they have never seen before, for example a black oval cardboard, they can produce the same call without knowing each other. Thus, they can communicate their shape, color and size among themselves.
And just like humans, prairie dogs from different tribes do not understand each other’s language. For example, Mexican prairie dogs and Gunnison prairie dogs ignore each other’s calls.
Although the communication of prairie dogs seems to be based on seeing predators and warning each other, they can also have very good conversations in daily life. They make different sounds among themselves, but no action is observed at the end of these sounds. Sometimes they chat all day. Unfortunately, we have not yet developed the mechanisms to understand these sweet conversations in their social lives.
If you find it interesting that even rodents like prairie dogs have a language of their own, take a look at other advanced creatures.
It is known that elephants organized funerals after their dead friends and attacked the villages of poaching people. Chimpanzees wage protracted wars. Such complex behaviors of course require complex communication systems. For example, have you ever wondered how wolves are able to organize and coordinate massive attacks?
Take the dolphins, recent research has shown that they use simple things to communicate with other dolphins and have a “culture”. They talk to each other with whistles and crackles. All this does not seem to make sense, but when will we understand what they are saying?
In fact, researchers have worked hard for half a century to make animal-human communication two-way, but there is still a long way to go.
Researchers argue that one of the biggest obstacles in our adventure with dolphins is our ignorance of communication units. While phonemes, which are the communication units of humans, form the structure of language, it is not known whether clatters or whistles provide communication in dolphins. Moreover, we still have a lot to learn about their combination.
Dolphins are known to use their whistles to say each other’s names, but their whistles and body language are still an unsolved mystery. Of course, the number of people who say that dolphins do not have a language that requires a solution is quite high.
Researchers say that dolphins do not have words, sentences and grammar structures as we understand them, so it is unreasonable to compare dolphin language decoding to reading Egyptian hieroglyphs or learning a new language. Only time will tell if there is a distinction between communication and language.
As a result, many animals, including prairie dogs, have communication systems, and if prairie dogs can visualize and describe a black, oval object, it’s time for scientists to investigate how other social animals get along.