How Animals Use Sound to Communicate
This interactive module explores how different animals — elephants, birds, and bats — have evolved distinct ways of using sound to communicate.
Animals have evolved a variety of mechanisms to communicate with each other for mating, defense, and other social interactions. In this Click & Learn, students will explore three case studies of how animals use sound and hearing to communicate, and how aspects of their communication systems have been shaped by evolution. The first case involves long-distance, low-frequency sounds used by elephants. The second study focuses on species-specific courtship songs used by finches. The third case discusses ultrasound used by bats and their prey, moths. Students can also investigate the basic properties of sound and sound perception in the “Sound Tutorial” section.
The accompanying “Student Handout” guides students’ exploration.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze various communication behaviors by observing videos and images of animals.
- Describe the adaptive advantages of using sound to communicate in different contexts.
adaptation, attenuation, auditory signal, echolocation, frequency, pitch, sound wave, spectrogram, vibration, wavelength
HS-LS2-8, HS-LS4-2, HS-PS4-1; SEP2, SEP5
1.A.1, 2.E.3, 3.E.1; SP1, SP2
5.2, A.3, A.6
CC5; DP2, DP3