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Decoding the language of Prairie Dogs: America’s Meerkats

Northern Arizona University’s Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D., and his student-teams have been studying the alarm calls of Gunnison’s prairie dogs for over 30 years. The result: the prairie dog language has been somewhat decoded. Yes, we know what they’re saying when they yip and squeak!

From The Atlantic

The animals have word-like phonemes, combining those into sentence-like calls. They have social chatter. They can distinguish between types of predators that are nearby — dogs, coyotes, humans — and seem to have developed warnings that specify the predators’ species and size and color. 

This video is a win-win because you get to watch prairie dogs (and their predators), all while learning about how we observe, analyze, and test to find out more about their sophisticated animal language. Be sure to read the interview with Slobodchikoff for more information…

prairie dogs
Plus: Watch more videos about communication.

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