Science Daily : Elephants Have Word for 'Bee-Ware'

Quote Originally Posted by Science Daily
For the first time elephants have been found to produce an alarm call associated with the threat of bees, and have been shown to retreat when a recording of the call is played even when there are no bees around.
'The calls also give tantalising clues that elephants may produce different sounds in the same way that humans produce different vowels, by altering the position of their tongues and lips,' said Dr Joseph Soltis of Disney's Animal Kingdom. 'It's even possible that, rather like with human language, this enables them to give superficially similar-sounding calls very different meanings.'
This is one further step to convince sceptics that animals are able to communicate through a form of language. It is very likely that the song of dolphins and whales is a veritable language of its own - or actually a series of languages and dialects as in humans. Birds have much smaller brains, so bird songs are probably more primitive in their range of content, but nevertheless qualify as languages too.

The human ear is one of the least developed in the animal kingdom. We barely perceive a fraction of the sounds a cat or a dog can hear. This may be why feline miaouw and canine barking and howling may appear simple and repetitive to us. Humans who grew up with different mother tongues are usually unable to distinguish sounds not found in their native language (e.g. the Japanese have a hard time telling 'r' and 'l' apart). If we can't even hear properly other human tongues, how can we be expected to recognise fine nuances in animal languages using completely different sound frequencies ?