Navigation auf


Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution

Erdmännchen besser verstehen

Researchers from the University of Zurich are currently observing meerkats in the Lewa Savanna, specifically focusing on their unique communication methods. Two main areas of study have emerged:

Young Meerkat Vocalizations

Master's student Anja Diefenbacher is on a mission to decode the vocal development of young meerkats. Her work reveals that the calls of young meerkats are distinctly different from those of the adults. Using microphones, Diefenbacher records their calls from birth to approximately four months of age, aiming to better understand the changes in their vocalizations during these initial months. She also analyzes if there are variations between different litters and locations.

Meerkats and "Foreign Language" Comprehension

Not all warning calls are the same for meerkats. They have varied tones for threats from the sky versus those from the ground. Furthermore, they also respond to the alarm calls of other species. PhD candidate Nikola Falk is researching this intriguing ability of meerkats, focusing on their responses to calls of closely related mongoose species. She is keen to determine whether certain alarm calls are universal or if meerkats learn the calls of other species within their habitat.

For a more in-depth exploration, including captivating videos, please visit the website.