July 5, 2022

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Do animals understand each other when they communicate as well as we understand each other?  |  Scientists respond |  to know

Do animals understand each other when they communicate as well as we understand each other? | Scientists respond | to know

The answer is yes, animals communicate like us, but they use another language. people use file verbal languagealthough not exclusive because we also use gestures and facial expressions, animals primarily use visual communication, which includes body postures and facial expressions, and auditory communication, which includes sounds such as barking and olfactory communication.

Depending on the species, one form of communication is more important than the other. I give you two examples: In the case of dogs Eye contact, posture and facial expressions, accompanied by vocalization, are more important. For example, dogs use ritual language consisting of an offensive (body erect, limbs extended, tail up, ears up) and defensive (opposite) posture. All this can be accompanied by utterances and facial expressions. Olfactory communication is also important. When a dog urinates, it leaves a message for other dogs. However, This olfactory communication is even more important in cats. The cat is believed to be a solitary animal, so it did not have to develop a language to communicate from one person to another like a dog, a social animal that lives in a group. The cat has developed an olfactory language that avoids direct confrontations. For this, what they do is leave marks with their fingernails, leave marks by rubbing different parts of the body or leave marks with their urine. And all these signs are messages to other cats: “I am a female and I am in heat” or “Be careful, this is my territory, do not approach me”, etc.

It is clear that communication between animals does not have the richness that we have among humans, But more messages are sent between them than we suppose. And of course, although the messages are more primitive, they understand each other perfectly. That is, they have all the communication tools they need. The only understanding problem can occur during the period of development called socialization, which in the case of dogs ranges from three weeks of life to three months, and if they have not had contact with other dogs. During this period they must be with other members of their species, and they have to live with them. If this does not happen, it may happen that the dog does not learn the dog’s language and then, as an adult, does not understand the situations other dogs adopt and this can lead to misunderstandings and fights.

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In all other animals, including non-companion species, Communication is very similar to this process that we have explained. Depending on each type, they use one type of language more than the other, but they all communicate. In general, in all social types, visual language is most important: postures, facial expressions, and vocalizations. And for less social species, olfactory communication is often more important. And it occurs in all of them, it can be a horse, a sheep or a mouse.

Marta Amat Grau Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, responsible for the Behavioral Service at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The question was sent by e-mail Firdous al-Mousawi Ajoud

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