Nonhuman communications


Every information exchange between living organisms — i.e. transmission of signals that involve a living sender and receiver can be considered a form of communication; and even primitive creatures such as corals are competent to communicate. Nonhuman communication also include cell signaling, cellular communication, and chemical transmissions between primitive organisms like bacteria and within the plant and fungal kingdoms.

Anthropologist Eduardo Kohn sets a framework for discussing non human communications in his book: How Forests Think.  He proposes that all life forms, not only humans, engage in processes of signification and therefore should be considered to think and learn. Arguing that selfhood does not solely belong to humans, Kohn proposes that any entitiy which communicates through the use of signs can be considered a self, leading to a complex 'ecology of selves' of which humans and nonhumans are both a part.

Biologist Lynn Margulis establishes how we relate to our most ancient non human origins through endosymbiosis. Bonnie Bassler, molecuar biologist at Princeton, studies how bacteria communicate using quorum sensing.  Chris Clark, with the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell, conduct acoustic research on how whales, elephants, and birds communicate through sound. Biologist E.O. Wilson studies the communications of insects.  Plant Neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, University of Florence, and Jim Westood of Virginia Tech explore how plants communicate.

In his work, Eduardo Kohn extends anthroplogy beyond the limits of human relations, into the realms of a collective intelligence that includes all forms of life. At the same time, physics finds itself at the edge of chaos and is being challenged to beyond the Standard Model.   The current problems facing physics are forcing the classical constraints of mathematics are being loosened by the developmnet of a new philoposphy of mathematics.