By Francesco Maria Pompeo Colonna

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Scientists find it easier to understand apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas. That’s because some apes can “talk” to humans in a language that they can understand. In other words, apes can learn to use sign language. When a chimpanzee named Washoe learned sign language, she was first shown an object, such as a tomato. Then the teacher molded her hands to show her how to make the sign for tomato. She practiced doing this many times. Only when Washoe could make the sign for a tomato on her own fifteen times in a row were scientists sure that she knew that word.

How do the other honeybees know in which direction to fly? ” 31 Vibrating signals Some animals send signals through vibrations. Vibrations happen when something moves rapidly back and forth. If you pluck a guitar string and then touch it lightly, you can feel it vibrate. A hairy mole rat sends vibrations through the earth. As it digs its long tunnel, it frequently hits its head against the roof of the tunnel. It is sending a signal to other hairy mole rats digging nearby. The mole rat wants others to know where it is so that their tunnels won’t meet.

One species might make a series of long flashes every half-second. Another might make two flashes one second apart. ” How does the male know she belongs to his species? By the length of time she waits before answering. 36 Many animals that live in the sea also make light with their bodies. Firefleas, which look like tiny shrimp, make green light. They use their light to attract females and to protect themselves. When firefleas turn on their lights, fish are so startled that they drop the firefleas that were about to be their meal.

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