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Decoding Doglish

Researchers in Hungary have created software that can identify the context and the "speaker" based on a dog's woof. It should be said, with widely varying degrees of accuracy. According to lead researchers, early results challenge the common idea that dog barks originated as a by-product of domestication. Brian Hare at Duke University in Durham, N.C., told New Scientist:

“This is animal behavior research at its best. You see a pattern that no one else knew was there because we can’t hear the difference ourselves.”

The story ran in many publications, I think because editors couldn't resist headlines such as, Bytes that give away a dog’s bark and Dog barks translated almost arf the time! I first read about the bark-o-meter in The Vancouver Sun, in a piece that also reported on a study that determined kids are afraid of clowns. We needed researchers to figure that out?

Lisa Wogan

January 21, 2008 in Cool stuff, Science | Permalink


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Dogs and children communicate not only with barking, but also with wagging, smiling and body language. In our book, Planet Of The Dogs, children and dogs understand each other's thoughts as well. Of course, that was long, long ago when dogs first came down to planet earth.

Posted by: Robert McCarty | Jan 23, 2008 5:19:59 AM

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