Zoosemiotics is the semiotic study of the use of signs among animals, more precisely the study of semiosis among animals, i.e. the study of how something comes to function as a sign to some animal.
Considered part of biosemiotics, zoosemiotics is related to the fields of ethology and animal communication. It was developed by semiotician Thomas Sebeok based on the theories of German-Estonian biologist Jakob von Uexküll. The field is defined by having as its subject matter all of those semiotic processes that are shared by both animals and humans. The field also differs from the field of animal communication in that it also interprets signs that are not communicative in the traditional sense, such as camouflage, mimicry, courtship behavior etc. The field also studies cross-species communication, such as for example communication between humans and animals.
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- Sebeok, Thomas A. 1990. Essays in Zoosemiotics (= Monograph Series of the TSC 5). Toronto: Toronto Semiotic Circle; Victoria College in the University of Toronto.
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