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Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D., and his work to decode the language of prairie dogs recently made national news, leading many writers to suggest that some day we may be able to talk to our pets through devices similar to cellphones.
In an interview published in The Atlantic last week, this modern day Dr. Dolittle discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) software can be programmed to record the barks and yips of prairie dogs, analyze them, and eventually translate them into English.
Some day, the same type of technology may make it possible to speak with a multitude of animals through devices no larger than a cellphone, he predicted.
A professor at at the Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Slobodchikoff and colleagues wrote a book on their work with Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni). Prairie Dogs: Communication and Community in an Animal Society details their investigation into the prairie dogs’ sophisticated system of barks, yips, and chirps. In this video, he explains how he thinks prairie dogs communicate:
GreaterGood.org supports the efforts of the Prairie Dog Coalition to save colonies from destruction and reintroduce prairie dogs into grasslands' eco-systems through the Gifts That Give More program.