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Human-Animal Understanding

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585796.  Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:56 am Reply with quote

Obviously Douglas Adams plays on this with the dolphins, mice and the self-offering meat dish at the restaurant at the end of the universe...

So long and thanks for all the fish...

(For those who are hard of Adams: the dolphins flew off at the end of the world, the mice are the trans-dimensional beings who ordered the Earth from magrathea, and I can't remember much about the meat dish, 'cept it suggests the best, tenderest parts of it to eat)

593598.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:01 pm Reply with quote

Most of the VERY LIMITED communication between humans and animals seems to be with domestic animals. Surely this cannot really be considered as communication with animals, as the animals are effectively humanised into communicating in a way that suits us?

Another point - can animals that don't recognise their reflections and are raised from infant by humans (can dogs and parrots recognise reflections?) know that they're not human? So effectively the limited communication between us and such animals (including chimps and gorillas who bear enough resemblence to us to not know that they're especially different from their reflections) might just be communication with humans who were born something else?

Or I could be talking/thinking b*ll*cks.

Ion Zone
593615.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:28 pm Reply with quote

4) Can we talk to the animals already - how will this improve?

Horses have complex body language that is very hard for humans to read. You do pick it up after a while, If you go down the stables you can read relationships from what they do.

Horses can read us a lot better than we can them, they can even learn to understand words of English. The average is about two-hundred, for horses who haven't been actively trained to respond to more than a dozen or so.

Sadurian Mike
593622.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:37 pm Reply with quote

Then we have the problem of those who communicate by smells or other chemical emissions....

Ion Zone
593626.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:50 pm Reply with quote

I used to know people like that. :P

Sadurian Mike
593627.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:51 pm Reply with quote

We used to call them teenage boys.

Ion Zone
593629.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:56 pm Reply with quote

But anyway, horses (and, despite what science says currently, dogs) have a wide variety of body language you can pick up.

593722.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:14 am Reply with quote

Posital wrote:

the mice are the trans-dimensional beings who ordered the Earth from magrathea

Pan not trans.

594034.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:28 am Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:
Then we have the problem of those who communicate by smells or other chemical emissions....

Lobsters. They communicate by pissing in each other's faces. The pee contains chemical messages that say things like 'Wanna fight?' or 'I'm getting undressed - wanna have sex?' or 'I beat you the last time we fought'. See the entry in The Book Of Animal Ignorance.

594043.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:45 am Reply with quote

I imagine you could quite easilly communicate, "Wanna fight?" with someone by pissing in their face.

594049.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:58 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
The pee contains chemical messages that say things like ... 'I'm getting undressed - wanna have sex?'

How many lobsters go around clothed?

594051.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:05 am Reply with quote

Lobsters don't have sex until they are in the stage of shedding their shells and growing new ones. Male and female lobsters who encounter each other during the hard-shell stage will simply fight each other. If they meet during the soft-shell stage, the female will move into the male's shelter, they will mate and he will protect her for a couple of weeks until the shells grow again.

594052.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:05 am Reply with quote

Guess who researched lobsters for TBOAI?

Sadurian Mike
594096.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:32 pm Reply with quote

"Lobster" is the naval slang for a Royal Marine, from the old red coat they wore.

I can well believe that a marine looking for a fight might employ the urinary method detailed by Jenny. Come to that, there are probably some who would use it for sex too.

601656.  Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:53 am Reply with quote

Posital wrote:

2) People don't like the wierdos from the neighbouring valley 'cos they're different.

(Note: I'm responding to this using my sister's notes on animal behaviour - alas, sis hasn't learnt to reference works properly yet, so until I get back to Central Library in Manchester this will be hazy...)

Anyway, her notes mention that it's common to underestimate the intelligence of animals as their environment is so different to ours, cetaceans being the obvious example. Dolphins have no need to trim sticks to the right length and thickness to fish ants out of an anthill.

A chimp was used in an experiment to measure altruism. It was shown various people it was familiar with in a locked room, shivering violently (it was miming - no humans were hurt in this experiment), with an unlit stove in the corner. The chimp was offered a series of photographs of possible answers, e.g. the key, burning wick, an apple, and was asked to choose the correct solution.

7/8 times the chimp got it right, but it was more likely to choose a neutral solution when the person suffering was someone the chimp disliked..!


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