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Thread: Prairie dogs' language decoded by scientists

  1. #1

    Prairie dogs' language decoded by scientists

    Whoa.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/st...e-decoded.html

    Prairie dogs' language decoded by scientists
    Human-animal translation devices may be available within 10 years, researcher says

    Prairie dogs give each other detailed descriptions of humans nearby, including the colour of their clothing, their size and whether they have carried a gun. (Hyungwon Kang/Reuters)

    Did that prairie dog just call you fat? Quite possibly. On The Current Friday, biologist Con Slobodchikoff described how he learned to understand what prairie dogs are saying to one another and discovered how eloquent they can be.

    Slobodchikoff, a professor emeritus at North Arizona University, told Erica Johnson, guest host of The Current, that he started studying prairie dog language 30 years ago after scientists reported that other ground squirrels had different alarm calls to warn each other of flying predators such as hawks and eagles, versus predators on the ground, such as coyotes or badgers.

    Prairie dogs, he said, were ideal animals to study because they are social animals that live in small co-operative groups within a larger colony, or "town" and they never leave their colony or territory, where they have built an elaborate underground complex of tunnels and burrows.

    In order to figure out what the prairie dogs were saying, Slobodchikoff and his colleagues trapped them and painted them with fur dye to identify each one. Then they recorded the animals' calls in the presence of different predators.

    They found that the animals make distinctive calls that can distinguish between a wide variety of animals, including coyotes, domestic dogs and humans. The patterns are so distinct, Slobodchikoff said, that human visitors that he brings to a prairie dog colony can typically learn them within two hours.

    But then Slobodchikoff noticed that the animals made slightly different calls when different individuals of the same species went by.

    "With a sudden intuition, I thought, 'What if they're describing the physical features of each predator?'" he recalled.

    He and his team conducted experiments where they paraded dogs of different colours and sizes and various humans wearing different clothes past the colony. They recorded the prairie dogs' calls, analyzed them with a computer, and were astonished by the results.

    Clothing colour, size described
    "They're able to describe the colour of clothes the humans are wearing, they're able to describe the size and shape of humans, even, amazingly, whether a human once appeared with a gun," Slobodchikoff said.

    The animals can even describe abstract shapes such as circles and triangles.

    Also remarkable was the amount of information crammed into a single chirp lasting a 10th of a second.

    "In one 10th of a second, they say 'Tall thin human wearing blue shirt walking slowly across the colony.'"

    Besides being a researcher, Slobodchikoff is an author of the book Chasing Doctor Doolittle: Learning the Language of Animals, in which he profiles many other animals with complex language, including crows and ravens, chickens and vervet monkeys. He believes complex speech is probably common within the animal kingdom.

    "It's just that we have not looked," he said. He blames the fact that humans have long assumed animals are incapable of such intelligence.

    Computer translation
    Slobodchikoff said he has been working with a computer scientist to develop a device that uses voice pattern recognition techniques and artificial intelligence to translate between human and animal speech.

    "We could potentially have something maybe the size of a cellphone in five to 10 years where a dog would say, 'Woof' and the device would say. 'I want to eat chicken tonight" or a cat could say, 'Meow,' and the device would say, 'My litterbox is filthy, please clean it.'"

    He thinks if humans and dogs could understand one another more clearly, it would reduce the number of animals euthanized each year because of behavioural problems, which he blames on a lack of communication. In the meantime, Slobodchikoff said, he has found that just knowing that animals can share complex ideas makes people more empathetic toward them.

    "When people realize that prairie dogs and other animals as well can talk … suddenly they see these animals with a new perspective," he said. "They're actually thinking, breathing things not that much different from us."
    Does this mean all posts on the strip are soon to be decipherable too?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by titanbuoy View Post
    Whoa.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/st...e-decoded.html



    Does this mean all posts on the strip are soon to be decipherable too?
    No, chimps are indecipherable...so far

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    JetsInsider.com Legend
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    Obligatory -











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    "That dumbass is back again talking groudhog jive."

    "biologist Con Slobodchikoff"

    SRSLY?????

    He's just looking for grant money from Obama's idiots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by titanbuoy View Post
    it would reduce the number of animals euthanized each year because of behavioural problems, which he blames on a lack of communication.





    "Common man.....my owner beat me, see. Err.....I was abused as a pup. Thaaaaats it. Abused. Unchain me, I wont tell anyone, see? Thaaaaaaaaaats right. "






    -




    -
    Last edited by 32green; 06-24-2013 at 06:48 AM.

  6. #6
    That's a huge voting bloc.

    If translated, what kind of music would they enjo˙?

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    Quote Originally Posted by frostlich View Post
    That's a huge voting bloc.

    If translated, what kind of music would they enjo˙?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxNEiZhpinY

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    Quote Originally Posted by frostlich View Post
    That's a huge voting bloc.
    lolz This was my first thought. For some demented reason. Imagine how many districts will have to be rezoned. In the midwest.

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    Prairie dogs? This is what we're focused on? Why aren't we trying to decode something much more practical? Like working on a way to figure out what the hell my wife is talking about half the time?

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    So this thread is not about er... peeping doots then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    Prairie dogs? This is what we're focused on? Why aren't we trying to decode something much more practical? Like working on a way to figure out what the hell my wife is talking about half the time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jets Things View Post
    lolz This was my first thought. For some demented reason. Imagine how many districts will have to be rezoned. In the midwest.
    Ha ha..I had a whole tirade prepared with 'Hand-wringing libs" in every sentence, but I knew I would derail the thread into the poli-forum.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    Prairie dogs? This is what we're focused on? Why aren't we trying to decode something much more practical? Like working on a way to figure out what the hell my wife is talking about half the time?
    Maybe it's time to start "that thread", tuber.

    Step up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    Maybe it's time to start "that thread", tuber.

    Step up.
    I'm not really starter material.

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    And here I thought this was gonna be about Turtle Heads pokin' out

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    I'm not really starter material.



    You win this round, Mr. Head. However, I will spend my days trying to fry you.







    soooo hungry

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    Prairie dogs? This is what we're focused on? Why aren't we trying to decode something much more practical? Like working on a way to figure out what the hell my wife is talking about half the time?
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    Maybe it's time to start "that thread", tuber.

    Step up.
    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    I'm not really starter material.
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post



    You win this round, Mr. Head. However, I will spend my days trying to fry you.







    soooo hungry

    It's not hard coming up with post-starting material. It can't be worse than starting a thread cane_shaking about the evils of greeting card purchases, but at least the quasi-effort was there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishooked View Post
    It's not hard coming up with post-starting material. It can't be worse than starting a thread cane_shaking about the evils of greeting card purchases, but at least the quasi-effort was there.
    I got a jump from your trampoline thread; in fact - I had a bounce in my step the entire day.


    cane-shaker
    dream-breaker
    youth-taker


    don't you shake that thing at me

    you're a



    repeat

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    I got a jump from your trampoline thread; in fact - I had a bounce in my step the entire day.


    cane-shaker
    dream-breaker
    youth-taker


    don't you shake that thing at me

    you're a



    repeat



    Somestimes I act more outraged than I really am, just to spark debate, and deal out some shi thands. Then I leave.

    Its my contribution, it's what I do.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishooked View Post
    It's not hard coming up with post-starting material. It can't be worse than starting a thread cane_shaking about the evils of greeting card purchases, but at least the quasi-effort was there.
    It's not that it's hard for me.

    I'm just not comfortable coming up with a title in which I call everyone "b***ches"

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