The Web of Life (8) Media

Media

The features of our face are hardly more than gestures which force of habit has made permanent. ~ French writer Marcel Proust

Communication mediums vary, from molecular connections to waves of light, mechanical vibration/sound, and electricity. Every physical media that can convey information is a conduit for communication for some form of life.

Chemical transactions are the mainstay of every organism, and so chemical communiqués predominate as the most common medium; used by every life, both within and without.

Electricity is another intra- and intercellular communication medium, particularly well-suited for rapid transmission over distance; hence, selected for nerve signals. Electric communication between animals is rare. Electric fish employ various voltage vocalizations: short, abrupt zaps for aggressive encounters, but softer rasps during courtship.

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Communication modalities between life forms evolved in the context of habitat, as did every other aspect of an entity’s existence. 3 facets pertain: 1) what travels best in the environment between sender and receiver; 2) what delivers a relatively robust signal for the receiver’s senses; 3) the extent to which the interests of the sender and receiver coincide.

There is convergence between how an organism earns its keep and how it communicates. Animals that rely on vision for foraging and predation tend to communicate via visuals, and so on. Contrastingly, subterranean termites, for whom sight would be literally senseless, communicate by scent and touch, the same way they sustain themselves.