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Furry Fans: Why Prairie Dogs Do ‘the Wave’

General January 8, 2014

Furry Fans: Why Prairie Dogs Do 'the Wave'Prairie dogs foraging near their burrows frequently pop up on their back legs, front paws in the air, and cry "wee-oo," a behavior that spreads throughout the pack as quickly as "the wave" at a football game. "Probably the most striking implication of the whole thing is it reveals to us that these prairie dogs have a concept of others as unique individuals," said study researcher James Hare, a biologist at the University of Manitoba. Prairie dogs find strength in numbers, and scientists knew that the rodents employ a complex system of alarm calls when danger nears. Previously, researchers had suggested that prairie dogs gave a wave of jump-yips as an "all clear" message.

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