Unit Three: Inter-Species Communication
Objective Observations of Body Language
Research into Animal Communication often begins with learning how to accurately observe nonverbal, or at least non-linguistic communication.
Many species use a complex set of communication tools that might include patterns of body movement, gesture, posture, variation of speed, complex use of eye contact, vocalizations, (including sounds that humans can’t hear) scent release, various forms of touch and contact, grooming – just to name a few.
Being able to correctly decode the meanings of this huge repertoire of communication modalities allows greater understanding and insight into the lives of animals. Anyone involved in training has to become both a “master reader” of these signals, as well as the ability to be able to adjust their own communication patterns so that the animal will understand the human’s intentions.
Aside from training, there are many advantages to observing and accurately interpreting animal communication. For one reason, it builds empathy and opens communication channels, for another, it can save lives (as in pets who alert their owners to unknown cancer).
Most social animals are excellent readers of non-verbal (or non-linguistic) communication – through body language and physical signals. Correctly giving and receiving each other’s body language (and in some species vocalizations) can mean the difference between connection, cooperation, reproduction, and survival within the pack.
Because body language is so effective and indicative of an animal’s emotions and intentions, humans who wish to understand and/or communicate with them can benefit greatly from learning how to accurately decode the messages they give each other through body posture, movement, eye contact, gesture and so on. It is a good discipline to not project your own emotions and intentions onto the animals you are observing. Instead of characterizing an animal's feelings, such as "good or bad" "happy or sad" and so on, instead, practice how to notice with a neutral frame of mind.
Animal Communication – Human-to-Animal
Unit Two explored the complex, non-language based communication within a species. In addition to animals sending and receiving messages among each other, in Unit Three we will explore various examples of inter-species communication in which humans have created pathways to communicate with them. We will look at chimpanzees taught to communicate with special computers. And finally, we will explore credible examples of those humans who claim to have the ability to communicate and interact with animals using intuition and telepathy.
Animal Communication – Two-Way Communication
An example of two-way communication from Animal Communicator Samantha Khury’s work involves her working with a racehorse at Belmont Park in New York. The horse was not running well, and when Khury “spoke” with him, the horse told her that he hadn’t been given the rest time he was supposed to have been given, to help him recover. Frank T, the horse’s main trainer was unaware of this and thought he had been given the rest when he was returned to his owner’s care, but in fact, the horse had been over-trained through bad advice from another “expert trainer.”
When Frank called the owner, it was discovered that in fact, the horse had not gotten his needed rest. The owner promised to give the horse the rest he was requesting after one more race. Samantha then “communicated” this to the horse, who was greatly relieved to hear he would finally be getting a break.
These anecdotal stories from experts in Animal Communication will require more research and verification to qualify as science. But they point us in the direction of greater understanding of animal’s needs. They show us the possibilities on the frontiers of science and potential collaboration between human and non-human animals. They give us inspiration about crossing the communication barrier between species. For those who wish to study this method of animal communication, we provide information about the teachers and learning resources we have found to be the most promising.
Inter-Species “Knowing” and Instant Communication -
The Research Work of Rupert Sheldrake.
Some of the examples we will explore is how well pets “read” us – even pets who have no training in seizure or diabetic alert – are able to anticipate by several minutes when their owners are just about to have seizures or diabetic incidents. There are numerous examples of dogs reacting when their owners die, even when the owner is not present.
Dr. Irene Pepperberg who trained the African Grey parrot, Alex, has so many instances where Alex seemed to “read her mind,” such as when he could tell what she was thinking when she read a magazine ad he couldn’t see.
Dr. Irene Peppeberg and Alex
Many animals seem to anticipate natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, and by paying attention to their warning behaviors, humans can be greatly served. By paying attention to, and accurately interpreting, sudden movements of groups of animals, (upland for example), we can be better prepared. This is just one way of increasing our awareness of what animals know, and how this can improve the lives of humans.
This skill of neutral awareness spills over, making us better senders and receivers of human-to-human non-verbal communication. Because as a species, we are pretty good at using words to disguise meaning (lying!) but while animals may be capable of deception for a specific gain, they generally don’t lie about their emotions – such as love.
You might enjoy watching the documentary Film "I talk to Animals" with Samantha Khury (1970). You may be able to find it online.
Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, PhD (Cambridge and Harvard) has over 1,500 published case histories that explore the unexplained and profound connection between humans and animals. In one of his books “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and Other Unexplained Power of Animals,” he asks questions such as: “How do cats know when they are due to go to the veterinarian’s office (and disappear) even before the cat carrier comes out?” He speaks about several veterinarian doctors in England who no longer schedule appointments for cats, because the rate of disappearing among cats with outdoor privileges is so prevalent, as to render appointments useless.
Lawrence Anthony, a conservationist at the Thula Thula Reserve in South Africa, talks about how Rhino’s will disappear the moment the rangers decide to move them, even before the rangers take any action. Any species that they plan to dart for medical treatment seems to “know” and vanish, until the rangers change their mind, and then the wild animals reappear. Their team has a rule “don’t even say the word gun out loud.”
Khury communicates with race horse.
How do these mind-to-mind instant transfers of accurate information between humans and animals occur? They are so extensively reported in anecdotal events in every country, that perhaps it is time to take them more seriously. In this unit, we explore what Sheldrake describes as a form of human-to-animal telepathy.
Native and Indigenous Spiritual Wisdom – Exploration of “Power Animals”
Turtles are one of the oldest creatures on earth. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, known as “Honu,” symbolizes good luck, endurance, and long life.
Turtles can show up as a person's guardian spirit, known as “Aumakua.”
As Chief Dan George (Tsleil-Waututh Nation, British Columbia, Canada) said,
“If you talk to the animals, they will talk with you, and you will know each other.”
Native Americans, Polynesians, and other Indigenous cultures were intimately connected with animals. In some cultures, such as the Mushuau Innu First Nations of Canada, the hunter would pray and ask the animal for permission to hunt before setting out. If this important step was not followed, it was believed that the animal would not surrender itself, and misfortune for the village would ensue.
In many Native American practices, all animals were considered sacred, each species carrying its own special wisdom and power. Connecting with one’s personal power animal was considered essential for protection, guidance and spiritual well-being. In this course we will take a brief look at some of the specific meanings of seeing these animals in dreams and in real life.
The Human-Animal Connection BLOG Lectures for Unit Three:
Animal-to-Animal Communication (across species)
The Elephant Whisperer – Conservationist Lawrence Anthony
Crows Will Remember You – Marzluff Crow Research
Thank you for visiting the
Human-Animal Connection Website
If you are enrolled in this class here are your
1. Read this Unit Overview
2. Read Two (or more) Unit Blog Posts
3. Answer the JOURNAL Questions Assignment
4. Take the Quiz (if you are doing for credit)
5. Then Proceed to the next unit:
THE UNIT FOUR LECTURE