ANIMALS WITH HUMAN-LIKE COMMUNICATION: Whistling sounds like an odd behavior for an orangutan to pick up, but it isn't the only case of an animal mimicking or learning a human behavior. Think of parrots that are able to speak in human language, or chimpanzees able to use sign language. A recent study announced that gorillas and humans use similar body language to communicate. Among other surprising abilities, crows have been seen using tools and some scientists think fish can count.
WHISTLING: Whether melodic or shrill, humans use whistles in a wide variety of ways. A person might whistle to attract the attention of a group or to herself while listening to the radio. Moving air in a controlled fashion through a small hole makes whistling possible. There are several different methods of whistling, such as:
- Expelling air through pursed or puckered lips
- Pushing air between the tongue and roof of the mouth
- Sticking a finger or two into the mouth to shape the pathway for outgoing air
- Whistling by inhaling air near the bottom lip
- Whistling into a chamber formed by cupped hands
- People can even whistle by blowing air through the throat while the mouth is closed, or through the gaps between teeth.