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In this study, we present a methodology that identifies acoustic units in Gunnison's prairie dog alarm calls and then uses those units to classify the alarm calls and bouts according to the species of predator that was present when the calls were vocalized. While traditional methods measure specific acoustic parameters in order to describe a vocalization, our method uses the variation in the internal structure of a vocalization to define possible information structures. Using a simple representation similar to that used in human speech to identify vowel sounds, a software system was developed that uses this representation to recognize acoustic units in prairie dog alarm calls. These acoustic units are then used...
Some animals have the cognitive capacity to differentiate between different species of predators and generate different alarm calls in response. However, the presence of any addition information that might be encoded into alarm calls has been largely unexplored. In the present study, three similar-sized human females walked through a Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni) colony wearing each of three different-colored shirts: blue, green, and yellow. We recorded the alarm calls and used discriminant function analysis to assess whether the calls for the different-colored shirts were significantly different. The results showed that the alarm calls for the blue and the yellow shirts were significantly different,...