Will we ever be able to ‘talk to the animals’?

Whilst it's fair to say that animals cannot talk to us in a conventional language, they definitely do have their own means of communicating to one another: a whale sings, a dark barks and a bird cheeps. Whilst their 'own kind' can respond to this and understand their meaning, it seems unlikely that a dog will understand the songs of a bird: the communication is very much indigenous to a particular animal group. But it is communication none-the-less and therefore a form of language in its broadest sense.

Of course this is only a modest summary; there are many theories and many scientists who have put the language theory to the test. As we progress in our own species, we seem to be becoming more open to and aware of the World around us. We want to make discoveries and test the theories of our ancestors; we want to better understand this amazing planet on which we live. And it's these feelings that has led the BBC to launch a new animal entertainment programme - something to compete against Attenborough's Sunday blighters!

The new two-part documentary, called 'Talk to the Animals', is set to explore communication in the animal kingdom. From east Africa to North America, Lucy Cooke will be debuting on the small screen in her quest to become a "real life Doctor Dolittle". It's rumoured to be a light-hearted, informal approach to wildlife TV and I for one am extremely excited about it.

A final thought brings me nicely to dolphins - aww! So many people and scientists alike believe we can talk to dolphins, but it seems we are finally moving one step closer to outright proving it. A study in 2012 found that dolphins produce sounds by tissue vibrations analogous to the operation of vocal folds by humans. With this mind, acoustics engineers John Stuart Reid and Jack Kassewitz from the organisation 'Speak Dolphin' have created an instrument called CymaScope. The theory behind CymaScope is that it has the capabilities of revealing detailed structures within sounds, allowing their architecture to be studied pictorially. From this, the hope is that researchers will be able to figure out the meaning of dolphin calls, their chirps and clicks; suggesting that we could finally engage with these great animals for the very first time.