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How could an animal produce radio waves, which would be picked up by other animals of the same species and converted to electrical signals that they hear, similar to how we convert sound waves into electrical signals. I don't know what the biological equivalent of converting radio waves to electrical signals would be, or how an animal would create the radio waves needed for communication. Would they have to evolve to tune out background radiation?

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  • $\begingroup$ On a side note, radio waves are just an expression of electromagnetism. In other words, they're photons. Most creatures can detect photons in the short wavelength spectrum (eyes) so it's realistic to have a radio-spectrum "eye" (those cones & rods might be really long, so the eyes might be really large...). You also have creatures that emit light for various reasons, so ditto. But, why my vote to close? Because not only is the question a duplicate as indicated, but you'll find a lot of what's been said here already said (and to a much greater level of detail) there. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 31, 2020 at 4:18

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Electric eels

The electric organs create strong and weak electric charges, which are utilized for defense, hunting, communication and navigation.

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/electric-eel

I see no reason why an animal - even a land animal - could not evolve from an eel-like ancestor. Maybe they originally communicated underwater but as they evolved to be land-dwellers they kept and gradually adapted this ability to work in air.

Bursts of static would be used at first but eventually this form of communication could become more and more sophisticated. Perhaps they would develop aerial-like horns.

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Would they have to evolve to tune out background radiation?

Consider that your eyes are not sensitive to all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. And also consider how your brains is able to pick out sounds and tune out background noise from your ears through processing.

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  • $\begingroup$ In hindsight it was a stupid thing to add. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2020 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JeffereyDawson I don't think it was stupid. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jul 31, 2020 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ yeah. I asked this question because I imagine that a creature that communicates through radio waves would be a very effective pack predator, but I wasn't sure that it could tune radio waves to such extent. I obviously didn't take into account how normal creatures hear. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2020 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ You could have it physically tune things like a radio, or have it use superior processing with its brain, or both. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jul 31, 2020 at 1:18
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First of all radiowaves are electromagnetic waves, so you're looking at contraptions more like eyes, that can receive electromagnetic waves, rather than ears, which sense vibration. Or it can basically just be a walkie-talkie duck-taped on to its head, and if that's the case just google how those work and replicate it. An organism's brain can interpret that data however it wants.

The hard part of this would be that the size of a lot of radio waves is massive; those antennas for your favorite station aren't just big for fun. The apparatus to send and receive these has to be massive as well. Think about a little hand-held radio/walkie-talkie and how low-quality those signals are compared to AM 640, that's the size trade-off. You need an apparatus inside of the creature at least as long as those antennas are on the sending and receiving end. Most of our sensory organs are really small in comparison. Now if you want telescopic radio-sensing (where you can locate the source) you probably need something more like our eyes but you need then to be so massive that everything you see is another antenna. So basically it's going to be worse than just yelling, or your animal would have to be massive.

Disclaimer: I'm not an electrical engineer

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