It takes someone with very little imagination to insist that animals don’t communicate. Those of us who have companion parrots even know they “talk” and “listen” to us.
The way humans use language does indeed set us apart from most animals but some animals demonstrate they can learn our language. We all know about research on Alex the Parrot. But what about Chaser the dog, who recognizes hundreds of words? And Kanzi the bonobo, who appears to have a sophisticated understanding of spoken English?
This episode of PBS NOVA explores what animals are saying and what new research into animal language tells us about the roots of our own language.