Kangaroos Can Communicate With Humans, Says Study

Most people believe that only domesticated animals have the ability to communicate with humans. That is, only our beloved cats, dogs, and maybe birds or guinea pigs know how to let us know when they are hungry or need our help with something. But according to a study done by the University of Roehampton, kangaroos have the cognitive ability to “talk” to humans just like our pets.

 

Kangaroo standing on the sand at the beach

Getty Images / Moment / John Crux Photography

 

 

The study was led by Dr. Alan McElligot and is part of a larger research about whether intentional communication between animals and humans is part of domestication or simple natural instinct. The test to find out whether kangaroos could actually communicate with humans was something known as an “unsolvable problem task”. For the experiment, they observed the behavior of eleven kangaroos after receiving a closed box of food by a human. Usually, undomesticated animals will try to open the box themselves, however, ten out of those eleven marsupials used gazes to “talk” with the human and ask for help opening the box.

 

Even more impressive than that is the fact that nine out of eleven kangaroos used alternating gazes between the food and the human to express what they wanted. This is an even higher level of communication, usually only seen in domesticated animals who have spent years near humans. In fact, the same test was performed on dogs, horses and goats – previously domesticated animals – and they all presented the same behavior as the large marsupials.