My name? Not important. I'm a Xenobiologist. But some people know about my family. Sure our name's changed over the years, thankfully, but you can see old movies about them sometimes. I was born with an unusual gift. I can talk to animals. No, I'm not crazy, yes this has been very thoroughly been tested even with telepaths. I can talk to animals and they can understand me, and I can understand them. How is this possible? Good question, we never did figure that one out. But it sure helps when you're trying to convince an 800 pound behemoth you ended up meeting up with during a survey mission not to chew on you or your crew-mates. -- LetsTalk
Technically speaking, we're a family of Espers. It's a unique gift handed down in a peculiar mutation from a who-knows-the-numeral grandfather who became the inspiration for a famous work of fiction. I'll tell you what we can do and you'll know what one it is. Instantly.
My family and I can understand and communicate with animals. Yes, just like Doctor Dolittle. Yes, I've heard it a billion times or more, I just roll my eyes like that automatically. It's like a habit. No, the family name is not 'Dolittle', and it never was. Besides, the mutation's spread a bit since then and there's like ten families who have it by now.
No, we don't have conversations. Animal language is a little less... structured. Survival's generally hinged on eat-mate-flee priorities with little side-trips involving whether or not the creature in question looks after their young and how invested they are in parenting. Animals have no sense of 'test' or 'trial'. Everything is either a danger or it's not. In the cases of the new and strange, it's safer to assume something's dangerous.