Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Animal Language

 Did you know animals have language? Here are some examples:

Bees communicate the location of good nectar to each other by doing a kind of dance.

Birds use vocal sounds and gestures to communicate with each other. When a bird shakes all over that means, "finish" and many other creatures use that to mean the same thing. It's like shaking water off after getting wet.

Dogs and cats use all sorts of intonation patterns and body language to communicate. Unfortunately some canine and feline gestures have opposite meanings so, unless they were raised together, dogs and cats may not get along. For example, the dog's "Let's play" position is similar to the cat's aggressive threat.

Dogs can learn to count to five, probably because they have four paws and one tail. Once we had a brilliant dalmatian who learned to understand a lot of American Sign Language. I tried to teach her to count by asking how many treats she wanted and holding up a different number of fingers on each hand. I assumed she'd choose the higher number, but she didn't seem to be getting it. Then I realized she always picked the lower number because she wanted the game to continue. She did get it!

I wrote more about animal language and reviewed a book on that topic in a previous blog post. You can see it here:

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