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Flashcards in Communication Deck (11)
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What are signals?

Signals are conspicuous behaviour patterns often combined with structures like plumes or crests, evolved to affect the behaviour of another animal


When does communication happen?

Communication happens when an animal responds to the signals sent out by another animal
Sender and intended recipient
Not always immediate (peck order, often no subsequent signals needed)


Give examples of modality. (14 points)

Blind termites/naked mole rats rely on tactile / chemical
Pond skates communicate through ripples of different frequency
Chimpanzees touch and kiss each others hands as reconciliation
Fish in deep water can create own light (idiacanthus anstrostomus)
In water blue and yellow light travels better than other spectrums which attenuate (break down) quickly
Many blue/yellow fish (black and white)
High frequency sound attenuates quicker air (in water) – low frequency goes further
Elevating themselves helps sound travel (song birds on posts / in flight; crickets on tops of shrubs)
Sound does not attenuate so much in water – hence possibility for much sound communication in water where vision may be limited (e.g. humpback whales – several hundred km)
Chemical short or enduring (low or high molecular weight)
Ant alarm signals disperse 3-4cm and fade (otherwise…)
Pigs scent in abattoirs can alarm other pigs
Moths can detect a female 4-5km away
Territory markers stay so that the sender does not have to constantly remark / defend territory
some territories marked all the way around the boundary (spotted hyenas – sub caudal scent glands), others at prominent points: latrines
Some are complex and variable chemicals – individual signatures


Give 2 examples of honest communication.

E.g. roaring of stags in the rut
Can avoid harmful conflict
But it has to be honest – in this case indicator of stamina

Other species, e.g. singing in skylarks; stotting in gazelles – sign of fitness
Painted wolves chase the least stotting
Of benefit to both parties
Any examples where show something that is not honest?


What is honest communication?

Honest signalling (also known as true communication):
Interactions where both sender and receiver obtain a fitness benefit


What is deceitful communication?

Interactions where the sender has evolved to give a signal which confers a fitness benefit to the sender, but involves a fitness cost to the receiver.


Who studied Cost-benefit framework for communication?

Rubenstein and Alcock,


What is metacommunication?

“A type of signal that does not communicate information itself, but qualify other signals to follow”
E.g. playful signals:
play bow (dogs*, wolves, lions), play face (monkeys)
All aggressive movements to follow are play
Evolved to enable practice without injury of fight


Give 3 Examples of complex communication.

Waggle dance
Vervet Monkeys
Evolution of cat communication


Describe Karl von Frisch 1965 Waggle Dance study?

Honeybees have evolved sophisticated communication for conveying information about where to find nectar and pollen and new nest sites
Round dance – close
Waggle dance - food further away (>50 m from hive)
Distance and direction indicated via the length of time spent waggling (9-10 cycles per 15 sec = 100m; 2 if 6km) and dancing
The more vigorous dance means higher sugar content of nectar
Needs sound – successful model to test
Olfaction (smell and taste of nectar) arouses the bees
Foragers give nectar from crop if everyone satiated = tremble dance
Bees also use streakers who lead the way to a new hive and the others follow


What did Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth (Kenya, ,1990) find out about Vervet monkeys?

Through observation and experimental manipulation through playback
Monkeys give different alarm calls to ground predator, aerial and snake
And make different responses
primates use vocalizations to modulate social dynamics “Language”? “words”?
human language emerged from the need to decipher and encode complex social interactions (Cheney and Seyfarth, 2017)