Communication In Prairie Dogs

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Prairie dogs are one of the most evolved animals today, in the form of communication. This profound form of communication comes about because the prairie dog is an extremely social animal, to each other not humans (Messenger). At first the prairie dog sounds like it is making senseless chirps and barks, but in reality these short high pitched chirps and barks are actual calls to other prairie dogs not just a random warning sound. Prairie dogs have their own language, everything from alarm calls, social cues, and body language. Dr. Slobodchikoff, a professor at university of Arizona, has done research on the Gunnison’s prairie dog for almost 30 years now (Abumrad). Dr. Slobodchikoff and his students still to this day are decoding the language…show more content…
Slobodchikoff has his fun with testing on how specific these animals will get. To make sure he isn’t being played by these little rascals he doubled and tripled checks that the alarm call for a coyote doesn’t change. Through rigorous experiments Dr. Slobodchikoff figures out that the alarm calls for coyote’s stays the same, also the same goes for dogs, birds, and humans. Further into this study Dr. Slobodchikoff comes to realize these calls don’t only contain the species of the animals but also a description or the animal (Smith). Dr. Slobodchikoff comes to a conclusion that the prairie dog is also able to call out the animal’s color, size, and shape (Smith). Dr. Slobodchikoff would send the same human out across the field in a different colored shirt, each time Dr. Slobodchikoff would record the noises made. Afterwards Dr. Slobodchikoff would run the recordings through his computer programs and get a sonogram or the recordings. In the recordings Dr. Slobodchikoff could see a repeating pattern until the end, he would notice that the prairie dogs were calling out that there is a human, which is tall, also skinny, but is wearing a blue, a green, or a yellow shirt (Slobodchikoff). Like many mammals, prairie dogs have dichromatic vision, meaning they can see the color blue, some of the color green, and they can see the color yellow, but they cannot see the color red (Slobodchikoff). Another experiment Dr. Slobodchikoff does is showing prairie…show more content…
Dr. Slobodchikoff believes the chatters that have no reaction are to be just social cues, like ‘Hey are you coming over tonight?’ Then you would hear another prairie dog at a distance chirp and bark back as a response. Sadly, with no reaction to these social cues Dr. Slobodchikoff and his students cannot decode said chatter (Slobodchikoff). Also, Prairie dogs being so incredibly social as they are these social cues can’t be meaningless chatter. Prairie dogs have no recorded hierarchy, like queen bees. Although, they do separate into colonies, neighborhoods, communities, and all the way into little families that commonly consist of one male prairie dog, one to three female prairie dogs, and their kids (Messenger). After all of Dr. Slobodchikoff’s research on Gunnison’s prairie dogs, he wonders if their language is similar to other types of prairie dogs. Dr. Slobodchikoff also wonders, if the other types of prairie dogs can communicate with each other. Even though Dr. Slobodchikoff has yet to do this research, he looked at the sonograms of the reaction between each type of prairie dogs when a human crossed the field. Just looking at the sonograms Dr. Slobodchikoff believe the different types of prairie dogs speak different language, like how humans have English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, etc.
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