Melbourne, Australia – When they feel hungry, they will tell you by coming over you and looking at your food container.
If that doesn’t work, they will sniff your foot and claw you.
No, we are not talking about dogs. We are talking about kangaroos.
Researchers at the University of Rohampton in the UK and the University of Sydney in Australia say that such behavior led them to a startling discovery: kangaroos can communicate with humans in the same way that dogs, horses and goats are domesticated. Never do.
Researchers said that the kangaroo is the first wild animal to exhibit a behavior that is commonly seen in domesticated species. Until now, researchers had hypothesized that such intersection communications existed only in animals that had evolved with humans.
The study showed that Australian marsupials had a high degree of intelligence.
The researchers said they hoped the results would persuade people, especially Australians, to treat kangaroos with more care. Although they bear arms on the country’s coat and are regarded as national treasures, they are also seen as a nuisance and are drawn annually due to their overgrowth.
According to official estimates, Australia had around 50 million kangaroos in 2017, double the human population. Farmers complain that kangaroos eat pastures for livestock, while researchers believe they are a threat to endangered wildlife by destroying habitats and eating reptiles.
“There is a part of the population that thinks they are insect and mute and want to shoot them,” said the paper’s lead author, Alan McIlligott. “I think that if the wider public has a greater understanding of an animal’s cognitive abilities, it is easy to sell the idea that we should take the best possible care with them.”
Researchers trained and tested 11 kangaroos from Australian zoos over eight days last year to get food from a box. They then locked the box, making it impossible for them to access the food without help.
Initially, the kangaroo sniffed and scratched the box. But once they realized that they could not open it, they turned their attention to Dr. They turned to McCligot, who was with them in the enclosure.
“The kangaroos saw me and they took this type of gaze alternately – looking at the box, on my back, on the box, behind me,” said Dr. McLeagott, who previously worked at Rohampton University and now now Is an Associate Professor at City University of Hong Kong.
“Some of the kangaroos approached me and started sniffing my knee and scratching my knee,” he said. “If it was a dog you’d call it ping.”
Ten out of the 11 kangaroos involved in the study actively participated in Drs. McLigot looked up, and Nine took turns alternately between him and the box containing the food.
“They were deliberately trying to communicate their desire to help them get food out of the box,” said Alexandra Green, an animal behavior and welfare researcher at the University of Sydney, who co-authored the paper.
Dr. Green says that she believes that kangaroo behavior is a modification of how they communicate with each other.
“They are a social species and will use these signals interchangeably,” she said. “In a captive setting, where humans are present, they are probably able to adapt to this ability to communicate with humans.”
The kangaroo used in the study – which was published in Biology Letters on Wednesday, a peer-review, scientific journal published by the Royal Society – was not entirely wild, as it would have been dangerous for researchers. They were reared in zoos and were familiar to humans, but were still considered without reason.
Dr. McLigot said that in another similar study done with wolves, as another undisputed animal, wolves attacked boxes of food only with their teeth, rather than making any attempt to seek help from humans.