How Do Horses Communicate? New Signals Found
Forget talking horses like Mister Ed—when it comes to horse communication, the ears have it.
A new study revealed that a horse’s large, highly mobile ears can help tell another horse where to direct its attention, which may help the observing animals locate food and evade predators.
As one of the first studies to examine communication avenues that humans lack—movable ears, for example—it’s an important step in understanding how social animals interact, said study leader Jennifer Wathan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Sussex in the U.K.
Traditionally, Wathan explained, scientists studying how animals communicate with one another focused on traits that humans also have, such as body language. (Watch a video that explores the minds of animals.)
But by thinking about the world as a horse experiences it, Wathan said, scientists can