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True or false: dogs can make about ten sounds, cats make about 100.

UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I apologize for making such a simple and dumb thread among the more important ones.

This thread is based on the underside of my Snapple cap. The "fun fact" is written just is it is in the thread title: Dogs can make about ten sounds, cats make about 100.

For some reason, this just doesn't ring true to me. How do you define a sound as being discretely different from another, especially in the context of animal noises? Is it like, dogs can only bark/whine/pant, but cats can meow/mew/slightly longer meow/yowl/growl/hiss? Is it defined as an intentionally different-sounding noise coming from the animal - dogs make a generic "bark" all the time, but cats have different growls for being scared or playful or annoyed? Species-wide, or any given dog or cat? Is it vocalized sounds only, or does it count the sound they make when they flop over? It's a very poorly written fact.

I've googled it. Much of the internet has no idea either way, but is content to parrot the fact around with no source. Some people write the fact as dogs having 100 sounds and cats having 10,000, or anything in between. Chacha.com (answers from random people online) says this:
Cats can make over 100 different vocal sounds, dogs can only make 10. These sounds encompasses a variety of meows, purrs, gurgles, and eeps which occur in a variety of tones and octaves and can mean a plethora of things.

That still doesn't seem to put it to rest. Dogs seem to be able to growl at different tones and lengths depending on their mood or how threatened they feel. Barks do not sound exactly the same every time they come out any more than meows sound exactly the same. Furthermore, I've seen those videos where it sounds vaguely like a dog is saying "I love you" or "mama" or whatever. Is that just a dog putting its ten sounds to good use, or do those count as new sounds?

Got any idea on this one, H/A? Biologist in the house?

UncleSporky on
3DS Friend Code: 0989 - 1731 - 9504
Nintendo Network ID: unclesporky

Posts

  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo When life gives you lemons... ...eat your delicious lemonsRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Aren't Snapple lid "facts" deliberately false? I thought that was the point, they're jokes.

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    ...

    Are you serious?

    EDIT: While some are definitely wrong, it doesn't seem like they all are. They seem more flippant and un-researched than outright lies. But again, that's an impromptu internet survey. And it shouldn't have any bearing on the fact or fiction of this particular question. Whether wrong or right, I'd like to know the truth on some authority.

    3DS Friend Code: 0989 - 1731 - 9504
    Nintendo Network ID: unclesporky
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If you check Snapple's website, which is what that thing tells you to do, they tell you that they just make shit up "to get you to discover for yourself."

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    this is from a new scientist article:
    Shared ancestry means that all mammals tend to produce the same kinds of vocalisations to convey certain meanings. For example, they make sudden sounds with rising or rapidly fluctuating pitch to attract attention or demonstrate arousal, motivation or readiness. Both cats and dogs play on this mammalian mutual understanding in their vocal interactions with humans. Analysis of cat miaows reveals that they contain acoustic patterns that grab our attention. But the vocal repertoire of cats is quite limited and their calls tend to be idiosyncratic, so they are often interpretable only by their owners.

    Dogs have far more vocal flexibility. They can vary the length, range, pitch, frequency modulation and tonality of their barks and they use this ability to produce characteristic barks in different situations. Even someone who has never owned a dog can make a good stab at telling, simply from its barks, whether it is lonely, aggressive or happy. Miklosi's group, who made this discovery, point out that other adult canids, including wolves, rarely bark. He suggests that during the course of domestication dogs may have evolved their elaborate vocal repertoire especially to communicate with us (New Scientist, 12 June 2004, p 52).

    it's an interesting question, and there doesn't seem to be agreement necessarily. this is from a book full of peer-reviewed articles and it suggests dog vocalisation is less complicated

    i'm sure your local library will have some journal searching tools available that might bring up more research. whatever the case, as you probably might have expected, the 'fact' as it's presented in popular language is at best a massive simplification of what we can scientifically know or theorise. i'd be very surprised to see anything that suggest there's a demonstrable exponential difference in vocal ranges between the two animals

    sig_zps00ca6d07.jpg
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    If you check Snapple's website, which is what that thing tells you to do, they tell you that they just make shit up "to get you to discover for yourself."
    No it doesn't, and upon perusing some lists of their facts there are at least some that I have seen confirmed multiple times, such as female mosquitoes being the only ones that bite or spider's silk being stronger than steel by weight.
    bsjezz wrote: »
    this is from a new scientist article:
    Shared ancestry means that all mammals tend to produce the same kinds of vocalisations to convey certain meanings. For example, they make sudden sounds with rising or rapidly fluctuating pitch to attract attention or demonstrate arousal, motivation or readiness. Both cats and dogs play on this mammalian mutual understanding in their vocal interactions with humans. Analysis of cat miaows reveals that they contain acoustic patterns that grab our attention. But the vocal repertoire of cats is quite limited and their calls tend to be idiosyncratic, so they are often interpretable only by their owners.

    Dogs have far more vocal flexibility. They can vary the length, range, pitch, frequency modulation and tonality of their barks and they use this ability to produce characteristic barks in different situations. Even someone who has never owned a dog can make a good stab at telling, simply from its barks, whether it is lonely, aggressive or happy. Miklosi's group, who made this discovery, point out that other adult canids, including wolves, rarely bark. He suggests that during the course of domestication dogs may have evolved their elaborate vocal repertoire especially to communicate with us (New Scientist, 12 June 2004, p 52).

    it's an interesting question, and there doesn't seem to be agreement necessarily. this is from a book full of peer-reviewed articles and it suggests dog vocalisation is less complicated

    i'm sure your local library will have some journal searching tools available that might bring up more research. whatever the case, as you probably might have expected, the 'fact' as it's presented in popular language is at best a massive simplification of what we can scientifically know or theorise. i'd be very surprised to see anything that suggest there's a demonstrable exponential difference in vocal ranges between the two animals

    Thanks, I will check this out. I may actually make a library visit if I have time, though the question isn't super high on my overall priority list. Thanks again for the quote though, it's helpful to know the answer isn't that simple.

    3DS Friend Code: 0989 - 1731 - 9504
    Nintendo Network ID: unclesporky
  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited February 2011
    I interpreted what bsjezz wrote as cats having about 100 different sounds but the 10 different sounds dogs have cover a larger range individually than an individual cat sound.

  • Unearthly StewUnearthly Stew Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Off the top of my head I would say that the dog part of that statement is false. Between growls, barks, yelps, whines, I'm pretty sure I've heard a couple from any different dog I've owned. 10 sounds seems... extremely limiting. Take anecdotal evidence for what you will though.

  • RingoRingo Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    There was a recent study that concluded that cats actively change the sounds they make purely to communicate needs to their owners.

    Basically it proved that a cat will experiment with the tone of his meow until you get off your ass and do what it wants you to do (so it will deduce the perfect pitch to annoy you into action).

    So this makes sense along with jezz's article - Dogs have a common vocabulary that anyone can understand, while cats fine tune their vocabulary to each specific person they interact with.

    ceres wrote: »
    I'm just going to go ahead and lock this thread before I feel any worse about humanity.
    Edcrab's Exigency RPG now featured at the Exigency Forum
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The whole point is moot, since you don't have a standard operating definition for "sounds." Dogs have a wider range of sounds they can make, if you include variations in pitch, duration, etc. Cats, as a species, seem to use a wider range of sounds, because they don't use a standardized system of calls and communications.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    The whole point is moot, since you don't have a standard operating definition for "sounds." Dogs have a wider range of sounds they can make, if you include variations in pitch, duration, etc. Cats, as a species, seem to use a wider range of sounds, because they don't use a standardized system of calls and communications.

    Right, the catch to all of this is that one particular dog may have some sounds that seem relatively simple, but they do have variation and are pretty similar between breeds. Bark, whine, growl, howl, etc. And they'll mix it up and generally be able to express themselves.

    Cats are just chatty. As a cat owner, I hear tons of different noises coming from my two cats, they're quite different between the two, and they seem to mix it up so you get a purr, a purr meow, a straight meow, a howl, a yelp, a hiss, a growl, an angry growl, a chirrup, a clicking noise, etc.

    Technically the original "bottle cap" post was simply about noises, not communication.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Dogs can definitely make more than ten sounds.

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    As the neighbor of a bloodhound enthusiast, I will state with 100% certainty that if dogs can only make ten sounds, five of them are distinctly different howls.
    No it doesn't, and upon perusing some lists of their facts there are at least some that I have seen confirmed multiple times, such as female mosquitoes being the only ones that bite or spider's silk being stronger than steel by weight.

    They don't make them up themselves, but they basically come off those age old "True Amazing Fact" lists that have been cropping up and annoying people who know better for decades. They do no fact checking on any of them. Some of them are true, but it's purely accidental when they are. "Goldfish have a 3 second attention span" is one of them, and that was disproven around 400 years ago. In about 5 minutes I was able to find fifteen provably wrong "true facts" in the list, and that was only ones that either I already knew otherwise or which contradicted themselves. For example, their fact list includes, "Cats have over 100 vocal chords," and "A cat has two pairs of vocal chords."


    Also, "Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise." They didn't even get the old "where you can see the sun rise in the west" urban legend, they just left it right there.

  • ceresceres Just your problem OooModerator mod
    edited February 2011
    So wait, what's the rising ball of fire that blinds me on my commute every morning? I demand answers.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
    Dear Satan...
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    ceres wrote: »
    So wait, what's the rising ball of fire that blinds me on my commute every morning? I demand answers.

    That's the living embodiment of your commuter rage.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • ceresceres Just your problem OooModerator mod
    edited February 2011
    You know, that makes a lot of sense.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
    Dear Satan...
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    ceres wrote: »
    You know, that makes a lot of sense.

    That's why it slowly goes away when you're on your way home from/when you get home from work.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    You know, that makes a lot of sense.

    That's why it slowly goes away when you're on your way home from/when you get home from work.

    Also the hot air from all the cars push it into the air, then it slowly falls to the other side.

    Excision wrote: »
    My girlfriend is going down tonight!

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Guys don't lie to the poor guy. The answer to this question is simple
    whydoesthesunsetdad.gif

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    You know, that makes a lot of sense.

    That's why it slowly goes away when you're on your way home from/when you get home from work.

    Holy shit I didn't know Calvin's dad was a poster here. :o

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