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The language of animals

Language, whether verbal or non-verbal, is what allows us to communicate with each other. But don’t think that language is exclusive to human beings; animals also have their own ways of expressing feelings, dangers and the desire to mate (and in that we’re not far off from other animals…). Who hasn’t heard of whale song? And who hasn’t smiled when hearing a dolphin “laugh”? What if these sounds that we find so beautiful were being used to communicate something else, like pain or fear?

From time immemorial, humans have tried to decipher the language of animals – their verbal language, more specifically – to figure out what they’re communicating. The fact that animals can’t articulate words or reason like we do doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely intelligent. Never underestimate them.

For the past 30 years, Professor Slobodchikoff has been studying the language of North American prairie dogs. He has discovered that these tiny rodents can share information about the type of predator lurking nearby, including details such as its size, shape, color and the speed at which it’s approaching. They even have ways of describing something they’ve never seen before. Amazing, right? A tiny rodent with such communicative capacities… And here we thought that dolphins and chimpanzees were the most intelligent animals!

What do you guys think? Are you surprised that prairie dogs can communicate with each other about so many different things in such great detail? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a sort of dictionary of the language of animals that would allow us to understand a little more of what they’re saying?

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