Answer Key: Rats, Bats, Birds and Whales Are Talking

Lesson Plan: Rats, Bats, Birds and Whales Are Talking and Scientists Are Listening!

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

  1. eavesdrop  | ˈēvzˌdräp | verb (eavesdrops, eavesdropping, eavesdropped) [no object] secretly listen to a conversation: she opened the window just enough to eavesdrop on the conversation outside.
  2.  rodent  | ˈrōdnt | noun a gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives, distinguished by strong constantly growing incisors and no canine teeth. They constitute the largest order of mammals.
  3. repertoire | ˈrepə(r)ˌtwär | noun a stock of skills or types of behavior that a person habitually uses: his repertoire of threats, stares, and gestures.
  4. instability  | ˌinstəˈbilədē | noun (plural instabilities) lack of stability; the state of being unstable: political and economic instability.tendency to unpredictable behavior or erratic changes of mood: she showed increasing signs of mental instability.
  5. analyze | ˈanlˌīz | (British analyse) verb [with object] examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of (something, especially information), typically for purposes of explanation and interpretation: we need to analyze our results more clearly.
  6. decode  | ˌdēˈkōd | verb [with object] convert (a coded message) into intelligible language: he put down the phone and decoded the message. analyze and interpret (a verbal or nonverbal communication or image): a handbook to help parents decode street language.
  7. Rosetta Stone | rōˌzedə ˈstōn |an inscribed stone found near Rosetta (now called Rashid) on the  western mouth of the Nile in Egypt in 1799. Its text is written in three scripts: hieroglyphic, demotic, and greek. The deciphering of the hieroglyphs by Jean-François Champollion in 1822 led to the
  8. *chew the fat  phrase of chew Informal: chat in a leisurely and prolonged way.”we were chewing the fat, telling stories about the old days”
  9. elude | əˈlo͞od | verb [with object] evade or escape from (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way: he managed to elude his pursuers by escaping
  10. vocalizations  vo·cal·i·za·tion | ˌvōkəˌlīˈzāSH(ə)n, ˌvōkələˈzāSH(ə)n | (British also vocalisation)noun 1 a sound or word produced by the voice: talk to your baby and respond to their vocalizations | nonsensical vocalizations made in the throes of rage or pain | [mass noun] : the respiratory muscles are involved in vocalization and swallowing.



New Oxford American Dictionary

*Dictionary Oxford Languages

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Decoding the meaning of animal calls also requires large amounts of data about the context surrounding each squeak and squawk.

To learn more about the vocalizations of Egyptian fruit bats, researchers used video cameras and microphones to record groups of the animals for 75 days.

Then they reviewed the recordings, painstakingly noting several important details, such as which bat was vocalizing and in what context, for each of nearly 15,000 calls.


Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

  1. Alison Barker, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, in Germany. “They have a little conversation.”
  2. Diana Reiss, an expert on dolphin cognition and communication at Hunter College and co-founder of Interspecies Internet, a think tank devoted to facilitating cross-species communication. “Let’s try to find a Google Translate for animals.”
  3. Tom Mustill, a wildlife and science filmmaker and the author of the forthcoming book, “How to Speak Whale.” “This is like we’ve invented a telescope — a new tool that allows us to perceive what was already there but we couldn’t see before.”
  4. Dan Stowell, an expert in machine listening at Tilburg University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. “One of the things that’s really great about animal sound is that there are still so many mysteries and that those mysteries are things which we can apply computation to.”
  5. Kevin Coffey, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Washington, who was part of the team that developed DeepSqueak. “You can just get a direct, subjective, from the animal’s mouth how-are-they-feeling.”
  6. Yossi Yovel, a neuroecologist at Tel Aviv University who led the research. “The bats are pugilistic, frequently quarreling in their crowded colonies, and the vast majority of their vocalizations are aggressive. Basically, they’re pushing each other. Imagine a big stadium and everybody wants to find a seat.”