12/05/2004

1,000 prairie dogs with 1,000 typewriters

Prairie Dogs Have Own Language, Researcher Claims
By TANIA SOUSSAN, AP

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Dec. 3) - Prairie dogs, those little pups popping in and out of holes on vacant lots and rural rangeland, are talking up a storm. They have different "words" for tall human in yellow shirt, short human in green shirt, coyote, deer, red-tailed hawk and many other creatures.

They can even coin new terms for things they've never seen before, independently coming up with the same calls or words, according to Con Slobodchikoff, a Northern Arizona University biology professor and prairie dog linguist.

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