Wait. What?

Prairie dog language is complex. They don’t just have a call for “danger”: their calls differentiate human, hawk, domesticated dog, coyote etc. and specify size & color. One study found that they can communicate “Here comes the short human in the yellow” (vs the tall human in blue) to each other.

Amazingly, it doesn’t stop there. Professor Con  Slobodchikoff’s (Northern Arizona University) next move was to see if prairie dogs could differentiate between abstract shapes. So he and his students built two wooden towers on each side of a prairie dog village. They then made cardboard cutouts of circles, squares and triangles and ran them out along a wire strung between the two towers, so the shapes sort of floated through the village about three feet from the ground. And the prairie dogs, Slobodchikoff found, were able to tell the difference between the triangle and the circle, but, alas, they made no mention of the difference between the square and the circle.