Reposted from NPR’s Morning Edition by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich
If you learn a second language, there’s usually a moment where things click — you overhear some snippet of conversation and suddenly, you just get it, effortlessly. Professor Con Slobodchikoff of Northern Arizona University has spent the past 30 years studying a foreign tongue. But there are no instructional podcasts or evening classes to help him: Slobodchikoff is trying to learn prairie dog.
View interactive media demonstrating some of the discoveries Dr. Slobodchikoff has made and listen to the 7 minute NPR Story at the following link.
for those of you with access to prairie dogs colonies, it could be quite interesting to attempt to replicate Dr. Slobodchikoff’s.
Additional Links of Potential Interest
- Video Clip on Dr. Slobodchikoff’s work from the BCC Program Prairie Dogs Talk of the Town
- BBC Video Clip on Coyote Predation Prairie Dogs
- Purchase the research article that most likely motivated the NPR Story at:
Semantic information distinguishing individual predators in the alarm calls of Gunnison’s prairie dogs
C.N. Slobodchikoff, J. Kiriazis, C. Fischer and E. Creef
Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, U.S.A.
Animal Behavior, Volume 42, Issue 5, November 1991, pages 713-719
- Purchase Dr. Slobodchikoff’s recent book on prairie dog communiction at:
- Con Slobodchikoff’s Website – http://www.conslobodchikoff.com/
- Animal Language Institute where Slobodchikoff is the Director
- BBC News Story – Burrowing US prairie dogs use complex language, this link has a couple more BBC video clips that I couldn’t find via YouTube