Animal Smarts

Chimps, Zebrafish and Birds Communicate Like We Do




Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

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

More from Natural Awakenings

Robot Roomies

Emerging technologies may provide mental enrichment, fun, companionship and health reminders to the many seniors that live alone.

Tree Tally

By digitalizing photographs and other museum records, scientists are closing in on the number of tree species left to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest.

Senior Sisterhood

Cohousing developments for older women are being created in the United Kingdom and United States to replace retirement homes that encourage dependency.

Tiny Baubles

As many as 51 trillion particles of discarded plastic lie on the ocean floor, threatening marine life globally.

Erase E-Waste

Instead of trashing or trading in old smartphones and other electronics, you can donate them to worthy causes that either give them away or recycle them.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Third Annual Fight Back Against Chronic Pain Conference

Take back control of your pain, and hear directly from those in pain and from alternative healthcare professionals that work with those in pain.

New Kids’ Classes at Boston Martial Arts Center

Boston Martial Arts Center has been teaching kids from 3 to 13 (and beyond) on Saturday mornings for close to 20 years.

Groton Wellness Welcomes Dr. Henri Balaguera, M.D.

Groton Wellness, a cutting-edge health center that combines biological dentistry, functional and integrative medicine, detoxification spa and organic café, welcomes Dr. Henri Balaguera, M.D., to its practice.

BioMed Center New England is Now Open in Providence

BioMed is the most comprehensive center in North America for bioregulatory medicine and dentistry together under one roof.

November is Eye Donation Month

The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) will be raising awareness during the month of November about the life-changing opportunities that are created through eye donation.

Four-Week Bilingual Spiritual Book Study

The course of study will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., November 12, 19 and 26, and December 3, at Concordia Center for Spiritual Living, in Warwick.