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Re: Prairie Dog Language - no, really.

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  • George Corley
    On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 7:49 PM, Amanda Babcock Furrow ... I still don t think I would call it a language. The alarm calls seem a lot like bee dances in a
    Message 1 of 42 , Jul 10, 2013
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      On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 7:49 PM, Amanda Babcock Furrow
      <langs@...>wrote:

      > On Mon, Jul 08, 2013 at 11:24:34AM -0500, George Corley wrote:
      > > I am highly, highly skeptical of this. I'd have to see the methodology --
      >
      > I'm amazed that no one has pointed out yet that you *can* see the
      > methodology. There's a brief video by the researcher at
      > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1kXCh496U0 . The journalist didn't
      > cherry-pick anything - if anything, the researcher is trying to
      > publicize the most dramatic findings, but the methodology as described
      > is quite sound! Unless he's just plain lying (unlikely), this is
      > really something.
      >
      > Do check it out.
      >

      I still don't think I would call it a language. The alarm calls seem a lot
      like bee dances in a sense -- they convey a lot of information relevant to
      a very specific context. If they can actually describe novel shapes as the
      video suggests, that _is_ quite interesting -- it could indicate a possible
      intermediate step in the evolution of language.

      As far as the other things he describes when talking about further avenues
      for research -- my hypothesis for chattering would be that it's being used
      to locate individuals within the colony. They might check whether the calls
      there are unique to the individual producing or receiving the call.

      But I really don't think the current data is enough to suggest calling it a
      language.
    • Randy Frueh
      And Alice eyes the lop-eared creature and presents the gloves it had sent her off in search of.
      Message 42 of 42 , Jul 13, 2013
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        And Alice eyes the lop-eared creature and presents the gloves it had sent
        her off in search of.
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