A universal mammal ‘language’

Humans may be able to understand a dog’s bark
because all mammals speak a universal language.

All appear to communicate basic emotions, such as fear, aggression and submission in somewhat the same acoustic way, according to a new study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

The find suggests a primitive communication system may unite virtually all mammals.

The theory could help explain why previous research has found that many mammals, including humans, understand the vocalisations of different species.

…the researchers suspect dogs and humans share a unique ability to communicate with one another that goes beyond the proposed universal mammal ‘language’.

The scientists believe years of domestication have improved the way that dogs, versus their wolf ancestors, can communicate with us. They point out that such communication isn’t limited to vocalisations. It also includes visual signals, such as changes in looks.

Common house cats also appear to have evolved improved means of communicating with humans, according to a study conducted by Cornell University researcher Nicholas Nicastro. Cats, however, seem more intent on manipulating us. “Though they lack language, cats have become very skilled at managing humans to get what they want – basically food, shelter and a little human affection,” …

story at ABC.au