Monday, October 7, 2013

Recent Research Indicates Prairie dogs Are Surprisingly Apt at Communicating

It seems these days, new evidence pointing to the intelligence of non-human species is abundant. This is interesting for several reasons. First, being that it goes against many long standing notions we have about our own self consciousness. Secondly, with it, comes an increasing number of questions. Like, "How intelligent is intelligent?" and "Does this intelligence come with any limitations, or are our minds the only true limitation in understanding our surroundings?" Regardless, some of the answers to those questions may not be within our considerable means of understanding. But still, if one needs to look at one example of the questions I'm speaking of, you need not look further than the following bit of interesting information about prairie dogs. First, some back story.

For many years now, biologists have been studying prairie dogs in their natural habitats, hoping to unravel characteristics about their interactions - particularly the language in which they communicate. Con Slobodchikoff, a biologists hails from at North Arizona University, has been in the game for about 30 years. He became interested in prairie dog language following the initial discovery of the alarm calls similar, ground-based species use to communicate threats to other members of their colony. For instance, squirrels. It was revealed several years ago that the species use different, distinct warnings to relay the type of threat other members of their colony may encounter (like flying predators and those that are on the ground).

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