The animal world is fascinating and vast. A simple and quick observation in the middle makes us get several fleas behind the ear. That’s because there’s so much to learn, to study, or just to see that we don’t know where to start. Scholars around the world dedicate their lives to animal studies. Some stand out because of their somewhat exotic appearances. Others stand out for their behavior, food, form of reproduction or communication.
For humans, communication is the foundation of relationships and part of how we successfully interact in life. Animals emit sounds to alert, attract companions, signal danger, find each other and defend their territory. And just like us, their vocal cords fulfill a multitude of purposes that lay the social foundations and ensure their survival.
But which animal will vocalize the most? And how important is it that he is chatty if at the same time making sounds he can also attract predators? In human terms, it is possible to measure “conversation” in two ways. The first is the amount of time spent vocalizing, and the second is the diversity of what is communicated by the sounds.
Applying this to non-human species, the researchers identified some common trends in species that vocalize a lot. And they also saw common trends in those who prefer quieter lives.
A determining factor for animal communication is how social the animal is. Some species are highly sociable and are also more fickle, such as flocking birds. After them come some mammals, such as meerkats that live in large communities and raise their young cooperatively, foraging for food and looking for predators.
“When they’re foraging, they’re always singing, so everyone knows, ‘I’m here; It’s me; everything is fine; there are no predators around.’ They are constantly making this call for soft, gentle contact,” said Arik Kershenbaum, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, who studies the vocal communication of animals and uses algorithms to analyze and compare their sounds.
Another factor is predation. Since the sounds animals make put them at risk of being potentially captured. These two points place strong pressures on vocal communication even in species that are highly sociable, such as chimpanzees.
“Animals are constantly transmitting information, whether vocal, olfactory, through posture. Everything is being evaluated by other animals, who form an integrative idea of what to do and how to interact with this individual.
As a general rule, solitary animals communicate simpler messages to the rest of the world. Those who live in cooperative groups need communication to maintain social hierarchies, find and share food, and alert others to potential threats.
According to Erich Jarvis, a neurobiologist at Rockefeller University in New York who studies songbirds as a model for how humans learn to speak, animals can be divided into two large groups. Non-vocal learners and vocal learners, which are animals that learn to vocalize by imitating sounds.
In the vocal learning category, only a few groups of animals enter this field. For example, humans, songbird species and some non-human mammals, including dolphins, whales, elephants, seals and bats.
“What’s curious is that animals that have vocal learning are also some of the animals that vocalize the most,” Jarvis said.…