The importance of animals to the environment and how to understand their language

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Legend has it that when animals are better understood, the world will be happier. Humans will finally realize that all living beings deserve respect. Much is already known about the importance of animals for the environment. Now, imagine if a human could understand the language of animals! Read more.

Animals are vital for environmental sustainability

The high risk of endangering a species can have consequences for all, especially for ecosystems. Something that may seem harmless, like killing a fly, can deprive another animal, such as bats or birds, of their food source. The same goes for plants, as the extinction of a single plant can trigger a negative chain reaction and hasten the extinction of many species.

"The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has studied 150,000 species out of about 40,084 considered threatened with extinction. The list is continually reassessed because the numbers can improve due to conservation efforts. Still, some species are at risk, usually due to human greed and lack of oversight, especially in remote regions."

The premature extinction of animals that help the environment is even more serious.

Here's a short list of animals responsible for helping the environment:

1- African Elephants

After defecating, the seeds of fruits and plants are spread over a wide area, making it easier for other animals to feed and improving local soil health.

2- Bees

Indispensable for the preservation of various species, including humans, as one in three food portions they consume depends on bee pollination.

3- Bats

Considered natural pest controllers, a colony of 20 million bats can consume 220 tons of insects overnight.

4- Beavers

Important for the regions they inhabit as they can alter landscapes. The dams and lakes they create can prevent wildfires by keeping the soil moist, even during dry periods.

5- Vultures

Important because they prevent diseases that can affect other animals and people by consuming carcasses and other rotten, bacteria-laden food.

6- Tapirs

They help restore tropical forests, especially after wildfires, as their feces are nutrient-rich and spread through the forests.

7- Butterflies

Although not as efficient as bees, butterflies are pollinators, with a preference for wildflowers that grow in groups.

8- Fish

Their feces help maintain the ocean's temperature balance as they store carbon for an extended period. This is crucial during sudden climate changes, especially for the marine biome.

9- Llamas

They are true protectors of the animals they interact with, such as domesticated livestock and herds, guarding them against predator attacks, like coyotes.

10- Otters

They help preserve algae habitats as they prey on sea urchins, which tend to overgraze marine plants.

11- African Rats

African giant pouched rats can weigh up to two kilograms and are known for detecting landmines after training. They alert their handlers to the mine's location, saving many lives and keeping the local ecosystem intact.

12- Sharks

These fish prevent the proliferation of diseases in the marine environment because they feed on sick and injured animals during their hunts.

13- Earthworms

These important annelids maintain soil health by allowing air and water to enter the ground as they move, forming a structure that facilitates plant growth.

This list is just a small sample of the importance of animals for the environment and the survival of other living beings. It is crucial to protect them, especially endangered species.

Increasing oversight, imposing strict penalties on violators, and providing greater protection with the sole aim of reducing the extinction rate of animals are vital steps. The next stage will be to discover a way to try to "understand" animals better, in other words, to learn to "talk to them."

Could humans "give voice" to the animals that inhabit planet Earth?

If one day humans can better understand animals by communicating with them and understanding their needs to enhance their protection, it will undoubtedly mark the beginning of a new era.

The non-profit organization, Earth Species Project, aims to decode non-human communication: "We believe that understanding non-human languages will transform our relationship with the rest of nature. The project's goal is not only to decipher animal languages but to communicate with them comprehensively."

What has been discovered so far about animal language so far

dimensional insight

Fish

Fish, depending on the species, use different methods to communicate with each other. Some fish release substances into the water with specific meanings based on the species. Others use low-frequency sounds that travel long distances underwater to communicate their social hierarchy, showing "who's in charge."

Dogs

Dogs have various vocal codes and also use their sense of smell to communicate with each other. Barks can have different meanings depending on their environment. Spaced-out barks, for example, may indicate boredom, while one or two barks directed towards the window might show disinterest in what's happening outside. Continuous barking in a low tone suggests imminent danger, like "an intruder is nearby."

There is an interesting theory that attempts to interpret the uninterrupted barking of dogs in different locations. Some researchers suggest that this long-distance communication can be done through images, a kind of "holographic sound emission." Much is still to be discovered.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hope of researchers to decode animal language with a higher degree of accuracy.

Analytics Insight

Could AI be the link for humans to finally speak to animals?

Researchers at Google have developed an AI system that can translate a "map of sounds and images" tied to a language map. This means that algorithms already exist that can "translate" some sounds emitted by animals into semantic patterns understood by humans.

Britt Selvitelle, a member of the Earth Species Project team, commented on the possibility of aligning animal linguistics with human ones: "We are working to decode the first non-human language. For now, matching words to interpret some human concepts has not yet been deciphered by AI. One hypothesis is that certain animal ideas may not be expressed as vocalizations but as gestures, movements, or even variations in skin texture and scents."

Conclusion

The idea of using Artificial Intelligence to decode animal language makes sense since this is already a tool that has decoded many extinct human languages.

Animals prove that communication is more than just the emission of words. Although we don't expect a chimpanzee to write an article like this or a dolphin to develop a scientific theory, the first question is whether most animals express themselves like a child who is still learning to speak comprehensibly.

The fact is that the day humans learn to "converse" with animals, they will not only better understand the environment but also think twice before harming their fellow creatures.

By Marco Veado - THINK GREEN