A bacteria can be as sophisticated as humans when it comes to communication as researchers have now found that bacteria communicates in a way that was previously thought to be unique to humans.
Big brains do not explain why only humans use sophisticated language, the study showed.
“We conducted an experiment on bacterial communication, and found that they communicate in a way that was previously thought to be unique to humans and perhaps some other primates,” said Thomas Scott-Phillips, a research fellow in evolutionary anthropology at Durham University in Britain.
The researchers found that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria common in water and soil, used combinatorial communication, in which two signals are used together to achieve an effect that is different to the sum of the effects of the component parts.
This is common in human language. For example, when we hear ‘boathouse’, we do not think of boats and houses independently, but of something different – a boathouse.
“This has serious implications for our understanding of the origins of human communication and language,” Scott-Phillips added.
The research shows that we can assume that combining signals together is unique to the primate lineage, he said.