Ep20 Con Slobodchikoff into the world of animal languages

2020 ibuzz podcast Dec 04, 2020

Con Slobodchikoff is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Northern Arizona University, and co-founder and CEO of Zoolingua, a company that is using artificial intelligence technology to decode animal communication. Also known for writing the book “Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals”.

Con shares with us his story on how he became interested in animal languages invites and encourages us to keep an open mind in our theories to understand it.

He shares his studies on defence behaviours in beetles, and later on about his work on prairie dogs, finding these animals to have a rich social life, including demonstrating that also nonrelatives could form part of a social group.

Sabrina and Con discuss the differences between communication and language, and about his books, “Chasing Doctor Dolittle” and “Prairie dogs”, both based on language abilities and communication in animal societies.

Con refutes the idea that animals don’t have thoughts and cannot communicate, and he will explain his revolutionary view on the non-existent gap between other animals and ourselves. He also mentions the idea that language extends to a variety of senses, instead of being single-sensory.

He dives deeper into why studying animal languages is so difficult, and the importance sounds can have for animal caregivers in animal care and welfare programs. Con also points out how language studies can be carried out in zoos or aquariums.

To conclude Con shares a nice story that shows thinking ability in prairie dogs.

To find more about Prairie Dogs: America's Meerkats – Language CLICK HERE

To read his book Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) CLICK HERE

For more information about his company Zoolingua, CLICK HERE

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