By studying the communication systems of other animal species, scientists and researchers all over the world hope to better understand how we as humans can better utilize our own systems to improve communication. Although humans are accustomed to using the auditory and optical channel for communication, there is much to learn about how we can use our other senses as well to communicate. If we continue the studies on animals that use other methods of communication, we can better understand how we can advance our own methods of communication. For example, by studying animals that rely on their sense of touch, maybe we can develop more efficient methods for the blind to communicate.
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The mentally challenged people may be restricted from living a normal life simply because he has, in a way, his own world of communication. It is possible that there are ways to reach these kinds of people through other means of communication. For instance, the sense of touch is a much more primitive than other channels, so that a simpler system of coding and decoding information may be possible. This is just one of the ways that the communication barrier can be broken down so that we can communicate with these people. Another instance in which other forms of communication are crucial is when humans leave Earth’s atmosphere. As we move further into outer space, it will be increasingly necessary to develop other forms of communication, as there is limited hearing and sight in space. Overall, knowledge about other means of communication could aid anyone who lacks in a certain sense.
Further research of other ways of communication is obviously important for communication opportunities that can benefit humans, but what about everything we already know? It has been proven that dolphins are especially intelligent and social animals, and in many instances have been known to socialize with humans. We can use this interesting trait to our advantage by utilizing the tremendous intelligence of the dolphins in many aspects of our lives.
One instance in which humans can use dolphins to our advantage is for therapeutic reasons. Dolphins are used in numerous aquariums as therapy for physically handicapped and emotionally damaged children. The child is put in the water with a floating device, and by allowing the dolphin to push its limbs and body around the pool, the child’s nerves are stimulated, thus making it easier for the child to move naturally on his own. For mentally and emotionally damaged kids, simply being with the friendly and fun-loving dolphins provides a extraordinary response from the children. The animals seem to sense the children have special needs, and researchers have found that the company the dolphins provide to the children actually increase the kids quality of life.
Dolphins have also been known to occasionally socialize with humans in the wild as well. In Brazil, a group of dolphins has cooperatively hunted with fisherman for many years. The fishermen throw out their fishing nets far into the ocean. Then the dolphins chase the nets back to the boat and eat any fish that escape.
The one thing all communication has in common is that its purpose is to convey information. The type of information that needs to be communicated varies from animal to animal. The honeybee uses an extremely interesting and unique way of communicating with its fellow worker bees. When a honeybee finds a source for nectar, it flies back to the hive to get the others. To tell them where the location is of the nectar, they wiggle their bodies and buzz their wings in a figure-eight shape. The speed of the wiggle and the angle of the body tells the others the distance and direction of the nectar. In 1989 a group of European researchers wanted to see if they could communicate to the bees a location of nectar that the bees had never visited before. To do this, they built a robotic bee made of brass and wax. This model bee could buzz its wings, wiggle its body, and even pick up drops of nectar. Using a computer to control the bee, the scientists made the bee do the "wiggle-dance" to see if the real bees would find the target of nectar they had set up. Not only did the bees follow the lead of the robotic bee, but the researchers found they could use the robot to send the bees to any location. The experiment was a success, and the scientists concluded that since the robotic bee never actually visited any of the targets, the "wiggle dance" does communicate direction and distance.
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