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NOVA Wonders: What Are Animals Saying? 1x53

From singing whales and howling wolves to chirping birds and clicking dolphins, the world is filled with the exotic vocalizations of other creatures. But what are they saying? While we believe language sets us apart, scientists are finally beginning to unravel the codes of animal communication. Some animals demonstrate they can learn our language—like Chaser the dog, who recognizes hundreds of words and Kanzi the gorilla, who understands some English spoken in context. But the question scientists are asking now is whether we can learn theirs. NOVA Wonders travels around the globe, where researchers are deciphering an amazing array of clues that reveal how animals share information critical to their survival—from a cacophony of ultrasonic bat squeaks to spider thumps and mice mating songs. Will we one day be able to write the bat dictionary or decode the hidden sign language of chimps? And what can these findings tell us about the roots of our own language?

See the other episodes in Season 1 here: “What’s Living In You?”; “Can We Build A Brain?”; “Are We Alone?”; “Can We Make Life?”; “What’s The Universe Made Of?