Wednesday Dec 16 2020

Just like dogs: Study finds Kangaroos can communicate with humans

Photo: File/
  • The study involved an experiment with 11 kangaroos kept in captivity
  • Researchers said the marsupials tried "asking for help" when they couldn't open food boxes
  • The study has challenged the previous notion that only cats, dogs, horses, and goats can learn to communicate with humans

SYDNEY: Although Kangaroos have never been considered domestic pets, a recent study has found that the animal may be able to communicate with humans just as well as dogs do. 

Reuters reported that Kangaroos have the potential to communicate with the humans by using their gaze to point and ask for assistance. 

Out of the 11 kangaroos living in captivity but not domesticated, ten intensely gazed at researchers when they were unable to open a box containing food. Nine looked at humans and at the container as a way of gesturing toward the object. 

Read more: Men wanted for killing and torturing kangaroos in Australia

“We interpreted this as a deliberate form of communication, a request for help,” said Irish researcher Alan McElligott, who led the study. “Wild species are not really expected to behave as those subjects were, and that’s why it is surprising.”

Read more: Carrot-addicted kangaroos hopping mad at tourists

The findings challenge the notion that only domesticated animals such as dogs, horses or goats communicate with humans, and suggests many more animals could grasp how to convey meaning to humans, the paper asserts.

“We’ve previously thought only domesticated animals try to ask for help with a problem. But kangaroos do it too,” concluded co-researcher Alexandra Green from the University of Sydney. “It’s more likely to be a learned behaviour when the environment is right.”

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