This nine-minute video shows the phenomenon of prairie dog vocalizations to a variety of threats to their population. The video provides evidence, using sonograms and prairie dog behavioral responses, that each vocalization contains discrete pieces of information that are understood by the local prairie dog population.
Teachers may want to prompt students to think more about how the different calls that prairie dogs make elicit different responses. For example:
How do you think the prairie dogs respond to different sized predators?
Do you think their response is the same no matter what information is encoded in the vocalization?
Why do you think the prairie dogs are able to include detailed information in their vocalizations?
How does the ability to encode complex information in their vocalizations help a prairie dog population to survive and reproduce?
For background information, teachers may access the Scientific American article in which this video was embedded: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/catch-the-wave-decoding-the-prairie-doge28099s-contagious-jump-yips/