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Monday
Feb122018

5 Animals with Strangely Human  Behaviour

Pixabay | SandeepHandaMore and more studies focus on the personality of animals and it seems like they are more similar to us then we used to think. Birds’ languages have dialects; pigs can turn from pessimistic to optimistic phases. Even though we usually imagine animals in wilderness, they can greatly adapt to urban areas and make themselves comfortable with a help of human inventions.

Archaic languages

The yellowhammer attracts scientists’ attention despite his quite ordinary appearance. As well as humans, animal speech is influenced by dialects and nuances in yellowhammer’s languages from different parts of the world are the easiest to recognize. Scientists compared the British population of birds with the one in New Zealand, where yellowhammers were artificially introduced in 19th century. Unexpectedly, they found more dialects in New Zealand despite the U.K. is the yellowhammer’s country of origin. The explanation might be that because of a great decline in British yellowhammer population, many language varieties disappeared. However, these death archaic dialects are still spoken in New Zealand. Human languages work similar; just think about some Canadian French expressions which sound so old to European French ears.

Flickr | Andy Morffew

Optimistic and Pessimistic Pigs

It is a well-known fact that pigs are clever as three years old children. They are even more intelligent than dogs. Moreover, similarly to people, pigs’ personality can show signs of optimism and pessimism. In an experiment, the pigs were given three bowls – one with chocolate, one with coffee beans and one empty. Optimistic pigs were more likely to explore the empty bowl than the pessimistic ones. Also, their mood depended on the environment they lived in. When the pessimistic pigs moved to a better housing, their mood positively changed.  According to the scientists from The Royal Society, the judgement of pigs is similar to human. It doesn’t depend only on the personality of the animal but also its current mood influenced by external conditions.

Flickr | U.S. Department of AgricultureThe Vandal Parrots

In 2016, Transport Agency in New Zealand had to solve an interesting case. During the day, unknown vandals were chaotically displacing traffic cones, which escalated in many complications. Confused car drivers were slowing down the traffic while zigzagging around the fallen cones. Thanks to the camera footage, the agency found out that the guilty ones were Kea Parrots. These extremely smart birds, though, didn’t play with the traffic cones just to kill their time. They noticed that the car slowing down usually means that its driver wants to feed them. They also realized that what makes the cars slow down, are the orange traffic cones. When they made this connection, they probably decided to move the cones in order to get some treats.

Flickr | Mike and Lara WolfeThe Arsonist Birds

Even wildlife predators are sometimes lazy and search for more comfortable ways to fill their stomachs. During vast wildfires in Australia, the raptorial birds noticed that the heat drives their prey out of the forests. Once rodents and reptiles leave the safety of the trees, it becomes much easier for birds to catch them. Therefore while people were fighting with the flames, birds of prey were carrying burning branches to intentionally spread the fire and get their lunch easily.

Flickr | Grahame BentleyBeware of grey hair

Dog owners wouldn’t question the unique personality of their beloved animals. Still there are many exciting features to discover. For example, scientists found out that dog’s hair become grey when the animal is under stress, as well as human hair. Grey hair is a good indicator of dog’s problems and helps to prevent them in time. Dogs also have a strong sense of fairness. If someone’s being dishonest to them, they don’t only recognize it but also stop cooperating with the swindler. This behaviour is very practical for animals that live in packs. Although the sense of fairness was so far proven only a few species like ravens, wolves or primates, it is an important contribution to the knowledge about humans themselves. Now we know that justice probably isn’t socially constructed but it’s a natural instinct.

Flickr | MrGaryLarson

By Eliška Olšáková - Online Journalism Intern

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