6 Animals with Oddly Human Behavior


[ ♪Intro♪ ] Whether they’re pets, wildlife, or the residents
of the local zoo, animals can sometimes seem a lot like us. Usually, if you think your cat looks guilty,
you’re just being anthropomorphic — or finding human traits in nonhuman things. Because let’s be honest: Your cat probably
doesn’t feel guilty about anything. Still, some animals do have behaviors that
seem oddly similar to the things we do. Their motives normally aren’t the same,
and the behavior often isn’t as complex, but it can make some of the stuff we humans
do seem almost universal. Here are six of the weirdest. If you’ve ever been cut off by a bad driver,
you know humans are great at holding grudges. But we’re not the only ones. Crows are known for being really smart, and
an experiment done in Seattle in 2011 showed that they’ll also hold grudges… for years. At five different sites, researchers put on
a distinct mask, captured between seven and fifteen crows, and attached identifying bands
to their legs. And after they were released, those crows
remembered the “face”, or mask, of their persecutor for a long time. Anyone assigned to walk around in the mask
would be subjected to loud crow scolding — or angry cawing — and even dive-bombing. Talk about drawing the short straw. But according to the paper, which was published
in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, it wasn’t just the captured crows that
were angry. Other local crows that hadn’t been captured,
as well as young crows born in the following years, picked up this behavior as well, apparently
learning from their flockmates or parents that the mask was dangerous. The scolding behavior spread over a kilometer
from the original capture sites and persisted for at least five years. A follow-up study using PET scans, published
a year later in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that when captured
crows saw the threatening mask, the same parts of their brains were activated that light
up in human’s brains in response to fear-based learning. Still, a grudge like this probably isn’t
the same as the ones we keep. Because, honestly, we’re usually a lot pettier
and not in actual danger. In crows, this behavior shows that they can
alert each other to threats in their environment, which is important for avoiding predators
and raising their young. Still, if you’re planning to visit Seattle,
maybe avoid wearing a mask. We warned you. All kinds of studies have shown that humans
don’t do well in isolation. Loneliness increases our risk for all sorts
of things, including infections and depression. And, as it turns out, cows are better when
they have friends, too. On a typical dairy farm, calves are separated
from their mothers shortly after they’re born, then are housed alone for eight to ten
weeks while they’re weaned. This is supposed to slow down the spread of
disease between individual cattle, which can be a problem when you’ve got a lot of animals
sharing limited space. But scientists also noticed that cows raised
alone tend to be more awkward and anxious when they joined a herd. So they came up with two experiments to compare
calves housed alone with those raised in pairs, and their results were published in 2014 in
PLOS ONE. In the first experiment, eighteen baby cows
were confronted with a Y-shaped maze with a white box in one arm and a black box in
the other. The scientists taught the calves to expect
full bottles of milk in only one color box, then switched it around to see how long it
would take for them to catch on. And the calves that were raised with a buddy
were quicker to figure it out than the loners. In the second experiment, researchers showed
those calves a red plastic bin eight times over a couple of days, letting them interact
with it for up to five minutes. The calves raised in pairs got bored with
it pretty quickly, and spent less time interacting with it each time — because, well, it’s
just a bin. But the calves that were raised alone kept
coming back to check it out again and again. Put these two tests together, and they suggest
that the calves raised in pairs were more flexible and probably less anxious, able to
adjust to changes in their environment faster. In other words, cows need friends, too. Meanwhile, African wild dogs have lots of
friends. They’re among the world’s most social
canine species, and they live in packs led by a dominant breeding pair. Before the pack heads out on a group hunt,
they need to reach an agreement about their course of action. To do this, they take a vote… by sneezing. Thankfully for our immune systems, we humans
have ballots. Scientists discovered this behavior by observing
rallies, or big group interactions the dogs have before a hunt. They followed five different packs — about
50 total dogs — for almost a year, and published their results in Proceedings of the Royal
Society B in September. They noticed that during rallies, individual
dogs make noises that sound a lot like a sneeze — although they’re not actual sneezes,
just a fast, exhale through their nose, like a huff. After analyzing almost 70 recordings of these
pre-hunt rallies, scientists found that the more sneezing was going on, the more likely
it was that the pack would hunt. In other words, it seemed like the sneezing
was a kind of voting mechanism. Now, voting isn’t actually unique to African
wild dogs — other social species, including meerkats and capuchin monkeys, have their
own ways of reaching agreements. But remember how each pack is ruled by a couple
of dominant dogs? If the pre-hunt rally was initiated by one
of these power players, it took about 10 fewer sneezes on average for the pack to come to
agreement and move out — even though the dominant dog could still be overruled with
enough votes. Just like in human elections, some individuals
ultimately have more sway than others. But when African wild dogs start running campaigns,
we’ll let you know. If you get a bunch of people together, there’s
a good chance someone will start gossiping. And, based on research, we think dolphins
do, too. Individual bottlenose dolphins have identifying
whistles that act a lot like names. They’ll respond to recordings of their own
so-called “signature whistles,” and they use them to call out to each other when restrained. Except, unlike humans, dolphins don’t assign
these whistles to their babies when they’re born. Dolphins develop their own when they’re
a few months old, and they can also be used to convey their mood, not just their identity. They don’t often use the whistles within
their own groups, but they do exchange them when meeting other groups — like a proper
introduction. But sometimes, the signature whistles they’re
using aren’t their own: They’re whistles that refer to other dolphins that aren’t
around. Scientists are still figuring out why, but
it seems that they’re talking about these individuals behind their backs — or behind
their dorsal fins. But because we don’t totally understand
how they work, it’s probably not identical to human gossiping. Instead, they might just be trying to figure
out where their missing buddies are. Still, all that complex social behavior may
have started the same way it did in humans: with large brains. A study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution
in October looked at behaviors in 90 species of whale and dolphin, and found that those
with larger brains have more complex social lives. This fits with something called the cultural
brain hypothesis — the idea that our big brains evolved to help us deal with living
in social groups. And now, that may apply to dolphins as well. So, gossipping may actually be a sign of advanced
intelligence… but don’t tell your busybody neighbor. If you’ve ever been told you see the glass
half empty, you can probably relate to honeybees. Research published in the journal Current
Biology in 2011 showed that when things get stressful, bees become pessimists — like
you on a Monday. To test this, scientists trained bees to associate
different mixtures of two smelly chemicals, hexanol and octanone — which are carbon chains
with an atom of oxygen — with different foods. Mixture one was mostly hexanol with a little
bit of octanone, and was paired with delicious, sugary foods. Mixture two, which was paired with bitter-tasting
quinine, had the ratio flipped, with more octanone than hexanol. The bees quickly picked up on this and rejected
the bitter food that smelled like the second mixture. Then, to change the bees’ mood, the scientists,
well, shook it up a bit. They took half of the bees and gave them a
hard shake on a vortexer, a machine used to mix chemicals, which simulated a predator
attacking their hive. Afterwards, those stressed-out bees had noticeably
different reactions to the food. Both groups were eager to check out the snack
that smelled more like hexanol, since they’d been trained to associate it with sugar. But the shaken bees were more hesitant overall. The biggest difference was when the bees were
given food scented with a fifty-fifty mixture of the chemicals — a mix that could have
been delicious or bitter. The stress-free, unshaken bees went for it
like optimists. But the shaken bees seemed more pessimistic
and stayed back, since there was a chance it would be disgusting. Scientists think the stress could have affected
the bees’ brain circuits that encode their memories of smell, based on the drop they
saw in certain neurotransmitters. Similar tests on humans, monkeys, dogs, and
birds show that we all become more pessimistic after a stressful experience. And it’s especially cool that this also
happens in invertebrates, like bees. Still, since bees lack an equivalent of many
of our basic brain structures, we can’t really know if this means they experience
emotions in a way we’d find familiar. But scientists think it’s a possibility
worth considering. And finally, penguins… They aren’t as innocent as you think. Adélie Penguins build their nests out of
hundreds of stones, creating a platform that can keep their eggs safe from floodwater in
the spring. They treat these rocks as valuable objects,
fighting over them and stealing them from each other’s nests — but sometimes, they’ll
go even further than that. These penguins are socially monogamous, meaning
they pair off with one partner to raise their young… but they’re not necessarily sexually
monogamous. Paired-off female penguins will often head
out to collect stones to build their nests. And according to research from the journal
The Auk in 1998, these wandering ladies have been observed soliciting sex from single males
in exchange for rocks. These females aren’t changing their mind
about their mate, either — they’re just offering a one-time hook-up for stones. In other words, they’re doing something
that looks remarkably like prostitution. Occasionally, these females even initiate
a courtship ritual… but then leave with a stone without actually copulating. One female penguin just kept doing this and,
by going back and forth, gathered at least 62 stones from a single male in an hour. Now, according to the study’s author, only
a few percent of female Adélie Penguins actually do this. And even though the rocks are a useful prize,
there may be more going on, too. It takes hundreds of rocks to build a nest,
and the lady penguins usually only get one or two from the single males. So there’s also a chance they’re looking
for potential mates in case theirs dies, or are trying to make sure their offspring are
extra healthy. Either way, this is the only animal species
we’ve seen where individuals trade sex for anything other than food. And all those cute penguins in documentaries…
are maybe not as child-friendly as they seem. Whether it’s lonely cows or busybody dolphins,
many animals have lives that seem a lot like ours — even if most human behaviors are still
more complex, or happen for different reasons. But the next time you’re feeling pessimistic
or having a hard time with a grudge, at least you’ll know you’re not alone. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you’d like to learn even more weird animal
facts — or stories about a bunch of other weird stuff — you can go to youtube.com/scishow
and subscribe. [ ♪Outro♪ ]

100 thoughts on “6 Animals with Oddly Human Behavior”

  1. Maybe people should go around wearing Donald Trump masks attacking crows.

    I didn’t come up with that joke but I don’t remember who did.

  2. If you can watch the information from the real experiment about crows was more about if parents can teach their baby birds as humans does to their children. Orso is well known that killer whales does the same thing

  3. Every year a pair of robins makes a nest behind my house in this small tree. One year a pair of Cardinals started to make a nest in the tree before the robins, then the Robbins came and started making a nest. The Cardinals left to make their nest in another tree. Some people say Cardinals are mean.🤷‍♂️

  4. Why do we automatically assume that animals have human traits? Why can't the opposite be plausible??? …
    Humans with animal traits???

  5. I think "cautious" would be a better word to use rather than pessimistic. After a traumatic incident, it's more likely for an organism to be on it's toes instead of having a negative outlook on life. =)

  6. What about the animals that seek out things that give them a buzz??.. that's much like human behavior.. there are monkeys that eat fermented fruit to get drunk and there are bears that eat mushrooms to see stuff.. I'm sure there are plenty other animals that like to catch a buzz too.. I'll bet dolphins probably search out and eat some under water algae or something that give them a buzz.. theres a theory out there that humans ate mushrooms a long time ago and that's how we started to create language.. idk, seems all animals like to catch a buzz now and again..

  7. The bit about crows also applies to Australian magpies. Leave them alone for long enough and they'll learn you're nothing to worry about and stop swooping you during nesting season. I haven't been swooped by the ones near my house for years.

  8. wild dogs are now called painted dogs because people actually like animals with nice names better, and their population was shrinking.

  9. optimists: the glass is half full

    pessimists: the glass is half empty

    Bees: THE GLASS IS STINKY, VERY BAD STINKY NO

  10. It seems as though all these experiments do is show that non-human animals aren't as stupid as some people think.Every other animal species fits into its natural role, in perfect symbiotic relationships with other flora and fauna, while humans destroy the planet one ecos-system at a time.It's pretty obvious which species is the dumbest of all – us.We also forget that our complex behaviours are purely a result of now living luxurious lives that bear no relation to the harsh survival we once knew.It's really no reason to slap ourselves on the back and consider ourselves even as smart as the 'dumbest' animal. We're not.A solar flare would show just how useless we are, especially individually.Apologies – this rant grew legs and evolved into something else entirely, clearly.

  11. What's really odd to me is a species that tortures bees under the guise of "research" to supposedly figure out whether or not they're 'pessimists'?!! 😢👎

  12. The reason why we separate calves and their mother is absolutely not to avoid the spread of disease, it’s to steal their milk 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️

  13. I knew of a murder of crows which collected coins from a nearby temple's wishing well then dump them on my friend's window ledge. By the time he discovered this (he always kept that window closed for some reason) the ledge was half a foot deep in coins. He was mortified because it was "temple money" and he'd rather not be "cursed". So, one stormy midnight, he gathered the coins and dumped them right back to the temple well. The crows got so mad at him and it became common to see them divebombing him when he walks out of his house… I mean, those coins were their stash, not his. XD

  14. I have a cluster of old eucalyptus trees 50 ' tall next to the driveway. Once a small group of about 7 crows began roosting in the trees and began to crap on my car with 8" inch diameter poop spray patterns. Usually about 12 8" corrosive patches by the time they left for the day. Used a pellet gun and killed one, whereby they all flew away except for one that cawwed and circled for a minute before joining the other fleeing crows. They learned from one instance that it wasn't a good place to roost. I thought , " pretty smart birds. "
    Growing up my dad came home with a crow that had a broken wing. We always had a menagerie, my reptile collection and my dad's interest in birds. If was cool having a crow hopping around the yard, sharing the dog's food bowl and interacting with the pets and humans. They are smart birds.

  15. same things happen to me also with me. i have to warried about crow more then cars in road.. finally i change my root.. hahaha

  16. How about an episode on intelligent social animals that could be the next sentient species. I'd have to say dogs, dolphins, and octopi would be on that list

  17. The expression "you cannot Anthropomorphize", which is a short hand for saying: "it is wrong to attribute human emotions and feelings onto animals"; is deeply flawed. There are no uniquely human; emotions and feelings. All emotions and feelings arose long ago and are invoke in the oldest parts of the brain.

    There is scientific work in progress, the results of which are made available by the site: http://www.brain-map.org, the source of the data are mouse brains. However, researchers into human brains, use this atlas, because mouse brains and human brains are essentially the same.

    The false idea that emotions and feeling are unique to humans arose in the seventeenth century and is based on the mystic myth that humans are a special creation. Sadly, the myth is still widespread and ironically, some scientists, who should know better still assume it to be true and falsely explain animal behaviors are purely instinctual and any resemblance to "Human feelings" is purely co-incidental. The statistical chance that this absurd idea is correct would be millions of time greater magnitude than a major lottery win. However, among many scientist nowadays the absurd idea that animals are purely instinctual has been debunked, many still need to catch up with the latest science.

  18. 62 stones in an hour from the same Male? A moment of silence is needed for our penguin brothers trapped in the friend zone.

  19. Not all farmers separate their calves so young! Industrial farming does, but many smaller farms separate when they’re much older!

  20. #2 Cows need friends is "an animal with ODDLY human behavior". I get that it is cute to discover that cows are so sociable. But, really? Social needs is very common in animals. It is not really a human behavior. Otherwise, as always, I love SciShow!

  21. When early scientific reports on penguin behaviour in the Antarctic first reached back to England it was thought to have been a pack of filthy lies and suppressed because of all the perverted acts the creatures performed. It simply wasn't believed. Very much not child-friendly reading.

  22. Maybe if she was more professional she wouldn't blab on and on about one spies, I got bored midway about the crows

  23. I wish they had used more accurate language. Like crows arent holding grudges, they just dont trust the masks because they recognise it as danger. They arnt angry they are fearful.

  24. I… I just can't keep listening to that woman speaking… That incessant valley girl intonation just makes me want to stab myself through both of my ears with long knives.

  25. omg how dumb are we that we think animals don't get lonely? of course they get lonely!! You think it's only cows that get lonely if they are kept in isolation? of course not. It's probably most mammals. It's so frustrating that scientists first assumption was that loneliness is exclusively a human emotion. uuhhhhh we are so stupid

  26. 9:15 Now, wait….How do the males make it clear that the rocks desired by the female are the males rocks to begin with?…hmmmmmmm?

  27. so……………im a furry and you said "anthr" in the start of the video grat furry related video (i know its not really furry related but ok)

  28. Crows haven't flown over my grandfather's house in 10 or more years because he would shoot at them. They also will kill their sentrys if one of the feeding crows is killed by a preadator

  29. I get using your hands to emphasize points, or emotions. But wiggling your entire body during points, is a new one. It's almost like she has palsy…

  30. my exgf's old (and VERY smart, but also srsly depressive) cat always stared with evilishly nearly-closed eyes at us when she had heard us. she'd also flee my exgf's direct presence for a while after. all in all, the cat behaved as if i was the cat's bf. and no, we've not been antropomorphic, we experimented with this!

  31. hahaha okay alright, forget about burka bans in western countries, just put crows in every city and train them to attack burkas xDDD

  32. Crows can also recognize faces. There are several crow families in my city which recognize my face no matter what I am wearing, hoping for peanut handouts.

  33. Why call the behaviours 'human'?
    Is it simply because we humans have not previously observed them in species other than our own?
    They seem to me to be more examples if how more beastly we humans are than we care to admit.
    We humans are not some special creation. We are part of the all of life on earth. We should not be surprised when the other beast seem like us. It does not surprise me that we learn we are more like them.
    Seems another bit of evidence that our behaviours are biologically centered, not created in an image of another.

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