Animal Smarts

Chimps, Zebrafish and Birds Communicate Like We Do

Eric Isselee/

Chimps, orangutans and bonobo apes are now known to be capable of understanding what others are thinking and recognize human thoughts, an ability once thought to be impossible. A team led by Christopher Krupenye, of Duke University, had apes take part in a visual experiment where they watched videos on a monitor while their gaze was being tracked. They discovered an anticipation of events that went beyond the visual cues presented.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has determined that zebrafish are social animals, similar to humans and other mammals—they form friendships, experience positive emotions and have individual personalities. The group advises people that eat fish or keep them as pets to consider the moral implications.

Honey hunters in sub-Saharan Africa have a unique form of communication with honeyguide birds that fly ahead to point out beehives which the hunters raid, leaving wax for the birds to eat. A study in the journal Science reports that they listen for a specific call made by their human collaborators.

Dr. Claire Spottiswoode, of the University of Cambridge, in England, and University of Cape Town, in South Africa, observes, “It seems to be a two-way conversation between our own species and a wild animal.”

This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Leafy Greens Lower Risk for Heart Disease

Teenagers that eat few leafy greens are at triple the risk for enlargement of the heart’s left ventricle, reducing blood pumping volumes, than teens that eat greens.

Physical Activity Deters Alzheimer's

Walking, dancing, gardening and other physical activities significantly improve brain volume and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gooseberries are Good for the Gut

Malaysian subjects with gastrointestinal problems had less pain, vomiting and sleep loss when receiving an ayurvedic remedy known as Indian gooseberry.

Saunas Lower Blood Pressure

Four to seven saunas a week halved high blood pressure risk in a study of 1,621 Finnish men.

Positive Outlook Powers Osteoarthritis Patients

People with osteoarthritis that wake up feeling enthusiastic about getting things done in their day end up exercising more and feeling less plagued by symptoms.

Add your comment: