When your cat sits on your chest meowing in your ear, is he just being an idiot or is he actually trying to tell you an important revelation he just had? An animation from New Scientist examines just that: how and why animals communicate. It turns out that it would be narcissistic and reductive to think that humans were the only species capable of complex communication.
White-handed gibbons, for example, have 26 different sounds they can make to describe different threats, while humpback whales sing songs with repeated themes and various layers.
"Language isn't an either-or thing," the narrator says. "It may be more of a spectrum with some forms of communication more like language than others."
Watch the video below and then maybe try listening to your cat the next time it tries to tell you about its day.