The idea that animals are like cartoon characters, will be able to communicate with people, has long excited scientists. A huge number of stories have been documented, which describe the cases of animals communicating with people in different ways. Many monkeys, including the chimpanzees Washoe and Nim, the bonobos Kanzi, have learned to communicate using sign language and keyboard symbols. African gray parrot Alex learned over 100 English words that he could use and combine accordingly. As part of the Dolphin Project Wild, scientists have made quite successful attempts to communicate with dolphins. In this article, we decided to collect the most impressive examples of such studies of communication between humans and animals.
The very word "communication" is difficult to give a precise definition. The tiger trainer, who tells the giant cat where it needs to jump with a piece of meat, may communicate with it, but this kind of one-way interaction is far from the way Dr.Doolittle talks to animals. The tiger, of course, will react, but will not be able to say anything in return.
Most animals, of course, cannot speak, simply because their vocal apparatus is designed in a completely different way than the human one. But there are exceptions everywhere. The book “What the“Talking”Monkeys Told About” describes a chimpanzee who, after several years of study, even learned three words: “mother”, “date”, “cap”. Nevertheless, YouTube is full of videos of dogs confessing their love to their owners to guttural "aaa ruu yuu" who are very diligently close to the human "I love you". At the same time, the happy owners of talking pets firmly believe that it is their pet who really knows how to think, and therefore expresses itself in this way.
Dogs are able to imitate some expressions of human speech due to the fact that by nature they are able to catch tonal differences of different sounds, for example, in the pronunciation of words and in general in the process of speaking in humans. This mechanism is developed in animals for transmitting and capturing emotions, primarily for communication in a flock. The discernible articulate sounds from the "mouth" of the pet are, in fact, a side effect of this essential tool for survival.
Scientists argue that dogs cannot understand the human meaning of words, but the hypothesis of "imitative intelligence" in animals is not completely rejected. It also has evolutionary benefits for dogs as a whole. In addition to voice recognition, dogs take into account their owner's body language, posture and direction of gaze. All this contributes to ultimately obtaining food as a reward for faithful service.
The record holder for the number of words learned among dogs was a collie named Rico. She learned about 200 names of her toys and could remember each of them by name even after a month. Scientists say that in this case, the dog acted according to the method of rapid tracking, which is used, for example, by small children.
Once the magician Jose Ahonen, who had previously shown tricks to his experimental dogs, for the sake of experiment invited an actor who imitates a dog barking as plausibly as possible. In the video, you can observe how the dogs fell into a stupor, not understanding where the sounds were coming from and what they could mean. Of course, this experiment cannot be called scientific in any way, but it perfectly demonstrates at what stage the development of verbal communication between a man and a dog is.
If you also want to try chatting with your pet, but you have no talent for barking or meowing, you can do a good job of digging into the AppStore, where there are tons of applications loudly called "translators into dog or cat language."One of the most notable is the Human-to-Cat Translator Deluxe for iPhone, created by Electric French Fries.
It is based on the principle of all familiar translation programs: it supposedly analyzes your words and translates them into a set of more than 170 samples that can attract the attention of the cat you are trying to "communicate" with. The translator offers to choose one of 16 sounds that are related to the main commands, as well as individual sounds of birds and rodents. The creators of the program disclaim any responsibility, stating that the application is intended for entertainment purposes only and does not provide actual functionality.
Two-level system of communication with marine animals
For the past 60 years, scientists have been struggling to learn how to communicate with dolphins. The brain volume of dolphins is so large that many experts had a bold assumption that animals have their own language. American neuroscientist John S. Lily was so obsessed with the idea of penetrating the consciousness of a dolphin that he even subjected to one dose of LSD drug. This experiment is still considered one of the most unprincipled in history.
No less famous is his other experiment, which was supposed to shed light on the intellectual level of dolphins and their ability to learn human language. During the trial, an adult male dolphin named Peter was isolated from his brethren and lived for ten weeks in the same pool with a girl named Margaret Howe. It soon turned out that Peter had successfully mastered several commands in English and even learned to imitate the sounds that Margaret uttered, but eventually he began to show sexual aggression towards his partner.
Of course, dialogue is too loud a word, in the case of dolphins, communication cannot be verbal, but it will definitely remain communication. A dolphin can talk and always answer something, but his "speech" for humans remains incomprehensible. Oceanologist Denise Herzig, however, is more optimistic about this and has already begun work on her own two-level method of exchanging and receiving information. As part of the Wild Dolphin Project, Denise spent 29 years studying a group of Atlantic dolphins in the waters of Florida. During this time, dolphins have learned to trust her and recognize her, just as she, in turn, distinguishes each individual. In her opinion, long-term relationship building is a laborious and responsible process, but it is a necessary condition for productive communication and the study of the communication skills of higher marine animals.
They are known to use sounds to express concepts; each individual has its own unique whistle that acts as a name. In addition, with whistles and crackles, they are able to convey a wide range of emotions and the meaning of their intentions. But language is, first of all, a sign system, where simple elements are combined into complex ones, and the fact that dolphins have one has not yet been proven. Nevertheless, the fact that dolphins are extremely capable of learning is undeniable. This is proved by the numerous experiments of Diana Reiss, which confirmed that dolphins, for example, are able to recognize themselves in a mirror and send signals from an underwater keyboard, interacting with people using a specially designed CHAT device.
The Thinker Parrot
Dr. Irene Pepperberg is best known for her experiments with the African gray parrot, Alex. It is reliably known that the bird knew at least 150 English words, which it could put into expressions and use them according to the occasion. Prior to Pepperberg's work, it was believed that birds are stupid and only capable of parodying or imitating sounds and human speech. But numerous experiments with Alex have proven that birds can analyze and reason logically at a basic level.
Alex could identify up to fifty different objects and identify up to six objects simultaneously.The parrot distinguished seven colors, knew the concepts of “more”, “less”, “the same”, “different”, “above” and “below”. When Alex was shown an object and asked a question about its shape, color or material, he gave accurate answers 80 percent of the time. Alex was also capable of simple mathematical calculations, while he was even aware of the concept of zero.
It is known that before his death in 2007 at the age of 31, he said to the supervising laboratory assistant: “You be good. I love you. See you tomorrow. " Irene Pepperberg is currently continuing her research with other birds. In honor of the parrot and in support of the study of the intellectual abilities of large parrots, a whole fund has been founded.
The language of symbols and gestures in primates
Researchers at St Andrews University say they were able to translate the gestures wild chimpanzees use to communicate with each other. It turned out that animals have about 66 gestures, with the help of which they send specific messages to each other. Observing and filming a chimpanzee community in Uganda, experts studied 4,500 cases of gesticulation and found that if a female shows her foot to her cub, then he must climb onto her back.
If one animal wants to scratch its back, then he touches the other with his hand. Primates chew the leaves to attract attention. "It's like grabbing a hot cup of coffee, screaming and waving your hand," said study leader Katrin Hobyter. "That said, I can understand that the coffee was hot and you don't have to tell me what happened to you." In this respect, chimpanzee communication looks exactly like human communication.
Science knows many examples when primates were able to teach sign language. The first chimpanzee to be taught Amslen (the American version of the language) was Washoe, who learned about 350 "words." Her level of language communication was quite comparable to that of a two-year-old child. After the chimpanzee's vocabulary reached 10-12 characters, she began to combine them at will. So, for example, when Washoe was taught the sign "open" ("open the door"), blackmailing to go for a walk on the street, she began to use this gesture in relation to the refrigerator in the meaning: "open, sweet" (thus expressing that she wants to drink juice that was there). Washoe then began asking for “open the blanket,” which meant getting a blanket out of the closet so she could go to bed.
Even more impressive results were achieved by the gorilla Koko, who took part in various studies for about forty years. According to the experts who worked with her, during this time she managed to learn about 1000 symbols and learn by ear about 2000 human words. This smart monkey even has its own YouTube channel where you can watch its progress.
Another famous bonobos monkey, the Kanzi monkey, has been trained in human language since the 1980s under the supervision of scientists at the Center for the Study of Primates in Atlanta and later at the University of Georgia. Unfortunately, the primate passed away two years ago. He knew about 600 English words and knew how to use a special keyboard with symbols and buttons, which he was very good at. Due to the fact that monkeys of the bonobos breed are sensitive to sounds of various tones, Kanzi could even communicate with people through language. For linguists and anthropologists, it has become a hope for new scientific discoveries and a symbol of a foundation studying the intelligence of bonobos monkeys.
Another star primate is the chimpanzee Nim Chimpsky, who lived in an American family and communicated with household members using sign language. The 2011 documentary project Nim shows how a hardworking monkey learned language and new signs.
The main communication tool of elephants is infrasound, that is, sound waves with a frequency lower than that perceived by the human ear. Precisely because scientists simply could not hear these "voices", for a long time it remained unclear exactly how animals communicate.The secret was solved by Christian Herbst of the University of Vienna, who conducted a series of experiments on the larynx of a dead elephant. It turned out that for communication elephants use approximately the same mechanisms as humans - vibrations of the vocal cords. As a result, signals that range from 1 to 20 hertz are transmitted over a distance of up to two kilometers.
At the same time, elephants have a fairly large "vocabulary": Herbst's group managed to record more than 470 different stable signals that they use. It is possible that this mechanism of sound reproduction is widespread among other mammals. Besides communication skills, elephants are prone to complex thought processes. This gives hope that teaching programs in the course of intellectual experiments will allow organizing indirect communication and a deeper understanding of the mechanism of their thinking.
Material was first published on Look At Me
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