Many animals communicate consciously and for very good reason. In
other highly social species, directed communication and cooperation in
a changing environment is vital to species success. Restricted to
non-active communication (that is communication that is unconscious -
not controlled by the animal) these species would not be able to
coordinate effort or react appropriately in unique situations.
It is one thing for an ant to unconsciously lay down a scent trail for
other ants to follow or for a bird to sing a pre-programmed mating
call in the spring, but it is another thing for a male chimpanzee to
build a coalition with other males and then work together to overthrow
the troop leader. That takes real-time conscious communication.
High-level social animals have to have flexibility because group
dynamics are always changing. Part of that flexibility is the ability
to communicate to others in the group that something new has happened
or needs to be done.
Consider the humpback whale. These creatures recognize individual
members of their species and greet each one differently. They use
specific calls to coordinate hunting efforts. They maintain
communication across hundreds of miles of ocean. Some scientists say
that they can tell if there is an injured member of the pod by
listening to the calls of the other members. Mother humpbacks sing to
their babies. When one humpback speaks, the others often stop and
listen. When they sing together, they harmonize. We dont know what
theyre saying, but its hard to deny that they are intentionally
See my answer here for examples of animals that communicate, some
consciously, some not ------
Subject: animals that communicate the location of food to other
SUBJECT: RE: WHALE COMMUNICATION
Thanks for your question, shybaby!
humpback whale communications