Prairie dogs can ‘describe humans’ in their own ‘language’

Last Updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 17:57

London: According to scientists, prairie dogs communicate with each other in a unique language of their own and have the ability to describe humans.

They have a distinct call for ``human``, one for ``hawk`` and another for ``coyote``, radio station NPR reports.

Professor Con Slobodchikoff, of Northern Arizona University, believes that the dogs’ barks, yips and chirping sounds are really a sophisticated form of communication that contains a vocabulary of at least 100 words.
“The little yips prairie dogs make contain a lot of information. They can describe details of predators such as their size, shape, colour and how fast they are going,” the Daily Mail quoted Slobodchikoff as saying.

“They also can discriminate whether an approaching animal is a coyote or a dog, and they can decipher different types of birds,” he added.

Slobodchikoff and his students recorded the noises the rodents made whenever a human, hawk, dog or coyote passed through.
By analysing the recorded calls for frequency and tone, the team found that the prairie dog issues different calls depending on the intruder.

The dogs, according to him, can differentiate between colours too, barking differently every time the same volunteer walked through the area with a different coloured shirt on.

He told NPR, “Essentially they were saying, "Here comes the tall human in the blue," versus, "Here comes the short human in the yellow."”

ANI



First Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 17:57

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