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#51 Posted by CuddleBear (1242 posts) - - Show Bio

we are the only species that tries to "save the whales" or "save the gazelles" lions might try to ration the gazelles, thats save-ish i suppose

#52 Posted by MaccyD (4978 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: Most animals have far better senses in all areas. Due to this, they mainly use a combination of the senses to communicate. I know from owning rabbits that they have far more than 40 call/signal and barely any of them are verbally communicated.

@willpayton-I pretty much agree with everything you say and thought roughly along the same lines as you entering this thread.

#53 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@willpayton: Those show that animals can have variations in their call systems based on any number of factors, but the 2nd article mentions

First, the observed variations in pant hoots may reflect genetic differences between the two populations

and

Second, genetically or environmentally based anatomical differences might account for vocal variability between the two populations

but either way, neither demonstrates anything more than variation or similarity within/between call systems. What separates language is the infinite interchangeability of words to express concepts. If the smartest non-human animal on Earth had all the works of Shakespeare in its head it would still have no way of communicating those concepts using even the most complex call system.

And again, other animals are absolutely capable of learning, using, and sometimes showing that they really do understand human languages, but none have developed their own.

#54 Edited by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate said:

@willpayton: Those show that animals can have variations in their call systems based on any number of factors, but the 2nd article mentions

First, the observed variations in pant hoots may reflect genetic differences between the two populations

and

Second, genetically or environmentally based anatomical differences might account for vocal variability between the two populations

but either way, neither demonstrates anything more than variation or similarity within/between call systems. What separates language is the infinite interchangeability of words to express concepts. If the smartest non-human animal on Earth had all the works of Shakespeare in its head it would still have no way of communicating those concepts using even the most complex call system.

And again, other animals are absolutely capable of learning, using, and sometimes showing that they really do understand human languages, but none have developed their own.

We cant say for sure that they havent. We simply dont know enough yet. While the articles I linked to say that the variations might be due to genetic differences, they might also not be. Notice it says:

"The Mahale and Gombe chimpanzees belong to the same subspecies, however, and these populations have been effectively isolated only for a few generations."

It'd be easy to test... just take one animal from one area when it's born and put it in another area to be raised by the local group. If it grows up and learns the local dialect, then it's not genetic/biological.

#55 Posted by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

@maccyd said:

@willpayton-I pretty much agree with everything you say and thought roughly along the same lines as you entering this thread.

Thank you! As humans we're certainly special, but we often deceive ourselves into thinking that being special means other animals arent. Too many people think that there's one unique trait or quality that separates us from everything else. But, everything we know from evolution shows us that we're just different versions of that which came before. Animals are not emotionless meat robots that we can use and abuse as we please. Dogs, whales, primates, and many other animals can reason and have feelings and even morality like we do. Sure, we might be smarter, but many animals are faster, stronger, more resilient, can see better, can hear better, can live longer, etc.

#56 Posted by Zijuun (854 posts) - - Show Bio

Animals are innocent. Humans are not.

#57 Posted by The Stegman (25537 posts) - - Show Bio

Higher brain functions that allow use to reason, adapt and learn at a rapid rate

Online
#58 Edited by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@willpayton: @maccyd But again, either way the amount of variation displayed isn't even close to enough to what would be considered the basis of a language. You need agreed upon arbitrary signs or sounds, which they have, but you need a range that allows expression of basically everything around you. Something to separate, tree, grass, and rock from just this things and that thing.

And while we haven't studied all animal communication, we have put significant amounts of research into certain primates, dolphins, and whales, and as far as we can tell none of them are even close, even the ones with a few dozen calls. I'm not saying animals aren't intelligent, but they have no way of communicating their intelligence beyond their limited calls. If you taught an animal how to communicate with any language, it would have no way of translating that into its call system to explain to other animals, and likewise, if you learned to speak gorilla you couldn't translate human concepts into gorilla. And again, maybe there are some out there, it's certainly not something we should abandon looking for because it would be an incredibly fascinating find for linguists, communications experts, and biologists, but as far as we know it's just us on this planet for now with language.

#59 Edited by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate said:

@willpayton: @maccyd But again, either way the amount of variation displayed isn't even close to enough to what would be considered the basis of a language. You need agreed upon arbitrary signs or sounds, which they have, but you need a range that allows expression of basically everything around you. Something to separate, tree, grass, and rock from just this things and that thing.

And while we haven't studied all animal communication, we have put significant amounts of research into certain primates, dolphins, and whales, and as far as we can tell none of them are even close, even the ones with a few dozen calls. I'm not saying animals aren't intelligent, but they have no way of communicating their intelligence beyond their limited calls. If you taught an animal how to communicate with any language, it would have no way of translating that into its call system to explain to other animals, and likewise, if you learned to speak gorilla you couldn't translate human concepts into gorilla. And again, maybe there are some out there, it's certainly not something we should abandon looking for because it would be an incredibly fascinating find for linguists, communications experts, and biologists, but as far as we know it's just us on this planet for now with language.

I agree that what they use is much more limited than our human language, but even a simple language is still a language. There's really no definition for how many "words" a language must have to be a language. I could, for example, create a new language for some sci-fi story that I'm writing that only contains 10 words. By your description above it wouldnt be a language, but I'd say that it is. A simple language... sure, but still a language.

#60 Posted by Nefarious (21964 posts) - - Show Bio

Animals take care of their children better than humans do. Proven fact.

#61 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@willpayton: Language isn't about number of words, it's about expressability of concepts. Call systems are a closed system, there are a set number of concepts that can be expressed, whereas language is open, any concept can be expressed and new words are created to express concepts. Literally every paper studying the differences, whether from anthropologist, linguist, behavioral psychologist, etc. agree there is a very large difference. Here's a more in depth breakdown of the differences:

http://johnsonmjose.hubpages.com/hub/The-difference-between-animal-and-human-communication

#62 Posted by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

I am not sure if I should have made a different thread but what are the differences between man and animal? I know there is a difference but what is it?

Ok, I thought about it. What is the difference between humans and other animals? Here's my answer:

Humans have DNA capable of reproducing with humans, and other animals cant.

#63 Edited by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate said:

@willpayton: Language isn't about number of words, it's about expressability of concepts. Call systems are a closed system, there are a set number of concepts that can be expressed, whereas language is open, any concept can be expressed and new words are created to express concepts. Literally every paper studying the differences, whether from anthropologist, linguist, behavioral psychologist, etc. agree there is a very large difference. Here's a more in depth breakdown of the differences:

http://johnsonmjose.hubpages.com/hub/The-difference-between-animal-and-human-communication

And I disagree with that. From the article:

"Animals also can communicate. Some animals and birds like dog, dolphins, gibbons, herring gulls and honey bees have developed their own system of communication. But their communication system differs from human communication. Animal communication lacks flexibility and creativity. Their communication tradition is acquired genetically and not through learning."

I think that some animals do indeed learn vocalizations to communicate, and it's not just acquired genetically. The article I linked about differences in chimpanzee vocalizations at the very least makes this a possibility. So, I disagree with the above statement that categorically rejects it. And, if they do indeed use some learned vocalizations no matter how simple, then it's a language... even if that language consists of a single word.

Also, notice you said this "language is open, any concept can be expressed"... which is really not true. Maybe you meant "any concept that a human can think of can be expressed". Even in that case, I'm not sure the statement is true. In fact, I'd guess that there are an infinite number of concepts, but human language is not infinite in it's ability to describe things... not even close. So again, we just end up talking about degrees... a chimp could express a few things, we can express more.

#64 Posted by MaccyD (4978 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate: @willpayton: There are some concepts that are difficult/impossible for a human to convey due to our lack of non-verbal communication when compared to animals. Especially subtle communications.

#65 Posted by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

@maccyd said:

@hecktate: @willpayton: There are some concepts that are difficult/impossible for a human to convey due to our lack of non-verbal communication when compared to animals. Especially subtle communications.

I agree. It's really not hard to imagine that a whale can have thoughts that are so alien to humans that our language would have no possible way to describe it. For this reason, it's not surprising that we've had so much trouble trying to even determine if animals have language.

#66 Posted by HeckTate (1397 posts) - - Show Bio

@maccyd said:

@hecktate: @willpayton: There are some concepts that are difficult/impossible for a human to convey due to our lack of non-verbal communication when compared to animals. Especially subtle communications.

I agree. It's really not hard to imagine that a whale can have thoughts that are so alien to humans that our language would have no possible way to describe it. For this reason, it's not surprising that we've had so much trouble trying to even determine if animals have language.

@maccyd, How you transmit the communications doesn't matter to what defines language. ASL is an open-system sign language in that new signs can be created for concepts just as words can for verbal language. The same would be true for written language, a tactile one (like rabbits thumping the ground and feeling vibrations), olfactory (because some animals use scents as calls), or even ones based on chemical emission like some insects use. We have looked at things like these, and we have discovered some advanced call systems that have dozens of calls, but none with the interchangeability of a structured language.

I do agree with you in that some animals have more efficient ways of communicating their calls than human language, especially in some aspects, and some are just plain interesting, like bees dancing. There are species of ants that communicate through pheromones, which can stimulate a desired response in nearby ants without ever conveying anything about the source. So basically if one gets riled up attacking something and goes back for help it can get all its buddies riled up by chemical reaction, so they don't know what the deal is, but they're ready to go fight.

@willpayton But "not hard to imagine" is just speculation. We could say every tree is speaking in ways we can't detect all the time, but it doesn't make that claim credible. As far as we can tell (which is generally how I tend to reach my conclusions regarding the workings of reality) whales don't communicate anything more than what their call system allows for. As beautiful and mysterious sounding as their songs may be, studies show that they're used primarily for communicating attraction, danger, etc, and they are also limited in their scope.

As for your previous post. Your opinion is contrary to just about every study that's ever been done on this. Even the things you posted earlier just talked about variation between limited calls, and that was between call systems of two nearly genetically identical species with slightly different ways of saying the same things. And you absolutely can express any concept in human language, because again, new words are always created and added. Saying we can't express concepts we can't conceive of is a total cop-out, of course you have to be able to conceive of the concept first, that's the underlying drive for all communication. But the difference between language and communication using simplistic call systems is pretty obvious, and there are tons of sources which break it down.

So you can continue disagreeing, but I've provided a whole ton of expert opinion to back myself up, and the degree I have is in communications so I know a bit about language myself. I don't see a reason to continue here if you're just going to refute sourced material with an opinion.

#67 Posted by Rouflex (19581 posts) - - Show Bio

One can rape you and go away with it

and

the other cant

Guess who is who and i'll give ya some Brainwashing points.

#68 Posted by Rouflex (19581 posts) - - Show Bio

One is wasting his time

and

the other is doing Sex

Guess who is who and i'll give ya some Brainwashing points.

#69 Posted by Joygirl (20156 posts) - - Show Bio

Has nobody said hands yet? Because the actual answer is hands.

#70 Posted by OverLordArhas (7793 posts) - - Show Bio

Humans basically invents the idea of right and wrong, even knowing what is right and wrong, humans keeps doing the latter.

#71 Edited by JetiiMitra (8807 posts) - - Show Bio

We have Batman and they have Man-bat.

#72 Posted by MonsterStomp (19880 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no difference. We're all animals. I dare someone to challenge me on that.

#73 Posted by OverLordArhas (7793 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no difference. We're all animals. I dare someone to challenge me on that.

Metaphorically speaking?

#74 Posted by MonsterStomp (19880 posts) - - Show Bio

@monsterstomp said:

There is no difference. We're all animals. I dare someone to challenge me on that.

Metaphorically speaking?

No. I mean in every conceivable way. We are all animals.

#75 Edited by PrinceAragorn1 (19582 posts) - - Show Bio

advanced thoughts.

#76 Posted by WillPayton (9723 posts) - - Show Bio

@hecktate said:

@willpayton But "not hard to imagine" is just speculation. We could say every tree is speaking in ways we can't detect all the time, but it doesn't make that claim credible. As far as we can tell (which is generally how I tend to reach my conclusions regarding the workings of reality) whales don't communicate anything more than what their call system allows for. As beautiful and mysterious sounding as their songs may be, studies show that they're used primarily for communicating attraction, danger, etc, and they are also limited in their scope.

Obviously whales and trees are different. In any case, my point is that we dont know for sure that the vocalizations of animals like whales and chimpanzees are purely a call system like you're describing. Or, are you claiming that we know for a fact that this is so and that no component of their calls are learned?

Being limited in scope doesnt mean much, because human language is also limited in scope. Also, that their communications are primarily used for attraction, danger, etc, only means that they are more limited than ours. Again, I didnt dispute that.

@hecktate said:

And you absolutely can express any concept in human language, because again, new words are always created and added. Saying we can't express concepts we can't conceive of is a total cop-out, of course you have to be able to conceive of the concept first, that's the underlying drive for all communication.

There are two separate issues here, 1) what we can conceive of and 2) how we can describe it. Having limited brains means we are also limited in what we can conceive of. This is just a mathematical fact. Also, the limitations of language mean that we are limited in what we can describe with it. For example, how do you describe to a blind person what the color red looks like? If they have no previous concept of color, then the answer is you cant. Even to a person who sees color, the best you can do is point at something that you call red and tell them that this is what red looks like. But, you have no idea how they actually experience it. Human language is simply unable to describe something like this.

@hecktate said:

So you can continue disagreeing, but I've provided a whole ton of expert opinion to back myself up, and the degree I have is in communications so I know a bit about language myself. I don't see a reason to continue here if you're just going to refute sourced material with an opinion.

I'm not disputing the expert opinion or source material. As far as I know the experts are still studying how animals communicate, so saying that we already know exactly how they do this and that they absolutely do not learn how to communicate anything sounds silly to me.

Remember that we're not just talking about chimps or whales here, we're talking about all animals. When you make a blanket statement like "no animal uses language" you're going far beyond what we know about all animals.

#77 Posted by MonsterStomp (19880 posts) - - Show Bio

advanced thoughts.

As in superior intellect? That's like comparing a lion to a mouse.

#78 Posted by Immortal777 (7732 posts) - - Show Bio

Humans have luxuries that other animals don't.

#79 Posted by mrdecepticonleader (18625 posts) - - Show Bio

We are animals. Obviously there are differences between us and other animals.

#80 Posted by superstay (10452 posts) - - Show Bio

@pablo_mablo:

Humans are animals, we just have far better brains.

d^_^b