It seems that individuals within the same species have their own communication, but is there evidence to suggest that individuals from different species are able to communicate?

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    – ASimonis
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 3:43

1 Answer 1


Do dogs and humans communicate? What about cats and dogs? I think defining "communicate" is the real question here.

This 2012 study claims to show "the first experimental evidence that the interception of heterospecific vocalizations can mediate interactions between different cetacean species in previously unrecognized ways". In other word, one species is recognizing and responding to the vocalizations of another.

This article points out that "...false killer whales and bottlenose dolphins choose to spend time with specific members of the other species rather than randomly mixing or engaging in brief opportunistic encounters" How could this occur without some form of "communication"? I'd argue it couldn't,

  • $\begingroup$ to be fair the second one does not require communication just the ability to recognize individuals in the other species. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ It's a reciprocal relationship that involves interpreting signs and signals from the other. What is the threshold at which "recognition" becomes "communication"? $\endgroup$
    – DavidR
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ I can avoid riding ornery horses a second time that does not mean I was communicating with the horse, I can prefer my cat to my neighbors cat that pisses on my car, but again it does not mean I am communicating with it. Favoritism is not necessarily communication. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ "I can avoid riding ornery horses a second time that does not mean I was communicating with the horse" Is not the horse's "orneriness" a non-verbal form of communication that it does not want to be ridden? It's not Shakespeare but the threshold in biology for "communication" is quite basic--if a cell emits a signaling molecule and another cell receives it, we call that communication even thought it's nothing more than "recognition". $\endgroup$
    – DavidR
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ If you define communication that broadly then the question more or less breaks down, any behavior that impacts another organisms can be communication. Communication does not have only a single biological definition. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 3:11

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