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delboy

Communication

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Simple question...

Are humans and bees the only animals able to directly communicate to another the location of a food source. I'm thinking of direct communication - rather than scent trails which I believe ants and termites use.

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This seems rather a question on what you see as direct communication.

 

One cannot "not communicate".

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I'm talking about giving some information so the individual can go and find the food by itself.

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I'm talking about giving some information so the individual can go and find the food by itself.

 

How do parent birds teach their ... kids that worms are in the ground?

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How do parent birds teach their ... kids that worms are in the ground?

They probably learn empirically even in the absence of their parents. They'll see worms on the ground on wet days and realise they are food and they'll see semi-buried worms and so on...

 

This is what Delboy's on bout:

 

 

Honey bees perform a group of movements, called the "waggle dance talk." They do this to inform other worker bees of the exact location of the food source. Some of these locations can be up to five hundred feet from their hive. Honey bees fly from their colony looking for nectar and pollen. http://www.hiveandhoneyapiary.com/TheWaggleDanceTalk.html

Edited by StringJunky

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I assume OP wants to limit the question specifically to abstract and exclusively food-related communication? Or is the question even more specific to the ability to code directions?

 

This is highly specific, and I am not knowledgeable enough to provide an exhaustive answer. However, ravens, monkeys and apes have certainly been shown to indicate type of food with calls. Inherently it also indicates location, though not by the type of call itself. For most animals it would not make a lot of sense as they may not have fixed reference points (such as a bee hive). Instead it seems more common for them to show where food sources are and/or use pheromone trails or markings.

For example, naked mole rat foragers bring back food and encourage others to follow their trails, presumably by smell. Arguably, this is a more efficient and precise way to indicate food sources.

 

That does not mean that they are not able to convey spatial information. For example, a variety of monkeys give warning signals from predators that indicate not only type, but also distance.

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It doesn't necessarily need to be food related. But being able to indicate a specific location to another seems to require a pretty high intelligence. I'm slightly intrigued that something as 'lowly' as a bee can manage this. I can only think it's done in a very different way to us. Rather than any kind of forethought I imagine it happened by some kind of 'happy accident' of behaviour/evolution. But it's tricky to imagine what it might have been.

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It doesn't necessarily need to be food related. But being able to indicate a specific location to another seems to require a pretty high intelligence. I'm slightly intrigued that something as 'lowly' as a bee can manage this. I can only think it's done in a very different way to us. Rather than any kind of forethought I imagine it happened by some kind of 'happy accident' of behaviour/evolution. But it's tricky to imagine what it might have been.

 

Stigmergy shows how a bee can manage this.

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We use voice and pointing, bees use a dance (vision). We are not aware of what whales communicate, but I believe the toothed whales are likely to notify others of food vocally. Bonobos have fairly complex vocal communications, and may also communicate food location vocally. Elephants also communicate vocally, and may share food location vocally. The problem is that we have not deciphered the communications of other animals enough to know what they communicate.

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We use voice and pointing, bees use a dance (vision). We are not aware of what whales communicate, but I believe the toothed whales are likely to notify others of food vocally. Bonobos have fairly complex vocal communications, and may also communicate food location vocally. Elephants also communicate vocally, and may share food location vocally. The problem is that we have not deciphered the communications of other animals enough to know what they communicate.

 

Indeed, we can only infer the communication of other animals, based on our own.

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Simple question...

Are humans and bees the only animals able to directly communicate to another the location of a food source. I'm thinking of direct communication - rather than scent trails which I believe ants and termites use.

It's not such a simple question. A lot of communication goes on in non-conscious unintended ways. Vultures tell other vultures of food, by their sudden descent, which the others are looking for. A wolf tells the others of the pack that it's spotted a prey animal, by it's body language.

Dolphins are apparently jumping to alert others of a shoal of fish, by the noise they make when they land.

Mothers tell their cubs of danger just by their body language, without making a sound.

 

Even some trees give off a pheromone that "warn's" other trees of attack by grazers etc, and the other trees respond by producing poisons.

 

But telling other animals about food is bound to be rare, as most animals don't want to share.

We humans are streets ahead of others in the communication stakes though.

It's what makes us truly unique. And we needed a huge brain to do it.

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We know for a fact that all animals, per se, “talk at other animal’s” via some means or other ……. and that only the animals within a particular species or a specific group within said species ……. actually knows what the “talking” animal was saying.

 

So, if, ..... and/or, ..... until, ..... us humans learn to “talk with the other animals” …… we will just have to keep guessing at what they are “telling” us.

 

When a mother penguin can locate her baby chick within a penguin colony containing 10,000+ other “squawking” baby chicks ……. then ya gotta assume that ………….

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