If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:22
AP.BIO:
ENE‑3 (EU)
,
ENE‑3.D (LO)
,
ENE‑3.D.2 (EK)
,
IST‑5 (EU)
,
IST‑5.A (LO)
,
IST‑5.A.1 (EK)
,
IST‑5.A.2 (EK)
,
IST‑5.A.3 (EK)

Video transcript

when humans communicate with one another they tend to rely on a few things so first of all we rely on language so we use it to communicate our ideas thoughts and feelings and also to respond to the ideas thoughts and feelings of others we also use a bunch of nonverbal cues so we smile the more happy we found more sad we can tell if the people around us or anxious or angry and we also use visual cues so if I paint it every room in my house black and blasted metallic all day I would be sending out different signals different cues about myself then if I was to paint every room in my house pink and cover everything in posters of ballerinas and unicorns and other animals besides humans have ways of communicating as well maybe not with language per se but with lots of different nonverbal cues and visual cues as well as many other types of communication that aren't used by humans and while we'll go over all of those different types of communications in a separate video I wanted to take a little bit of time to talk about why animals communicate and why this is necessary so one question we might want to ask is who are animals communicating with so some species of animals might use different types of vocalization to communicate with members of the same species but animals can also communicate with other animals that are not in their species so for example some types of frogs use really bright colors to signal that they're toxic which will let other animals know not to eat them and of course animals can also communicate with humans every morning my cat's let me know when it's time for me to wake up and feed them or at least when they feel that I should wake up and feed them but there's also Auto communication so animals can also use communication to give information to themselves and that's kind of a trickier one but I think the best example might be bats and echolocation so bats send out a signal and then when that signal bounces back they're able to gain information about the things in their environment all right so animals can use communication to give information to themselves to members of their same species and also members of other species but what type of information are these animals trying to convey what is the main function of animal communication well the first one would be mating rituals animals can produce a multitude of signals as a way to attract the opposite sex some are really brightly colors others do complicated dances and some do specific verbal calls animals also use communication to proclaim ownership or territory or to defend territory so basically it's a way of telling other animals to back off and I had birds as pets in my house when I was growing up and my birds were extremely kind they would sit on your shoulder they would try to eat all of your food and they were just generally really social when they laid eggs they got really territorial I mean they would basically try to take your finger off if you got too close to them another function of animal communication is food communication so signaling to other animals where they can find food there's also alarm calls or cases where animals will try to warn others about the presence of a predator animals can also use communication as a way to signal dominance and Submission so for example after dogs fight they might adapt different stances to indicate who came out on top but one thing I want to make sure to say before we actually go into really talking about all of the different ways that animals can use to communicate is that I want to say that while it's clear that animals do you communicate both with each other and with us as humans we need to be really careful that we don't put too much thought into this we need to be careful not to anthropomorphize or attribute to many human characteristics to non-human animals so we can try to interpret and try to ascribe meaning to the actions of animals but we can never really be certain that we are correct because we can't really ask the animals what they mean so my cats sleep with me at night and I usually sit with me when I'm on the couch and I would like to assume that it's because they love me to want to be with me but it's possible that they're also only trying to keep physical contact with me because I produce a lot of body heat and then it is that motivation rather than love that explains my cat's behaviors
Biology is brought to you with support from the Amgen Foundation