Animals that have never been domesticated, such as kangaroos, can intentionally communicate with humans, challenging the notion that this behaviour is usually restricted to domesticated animals like dogs, horses or goats, a first of its kind study from the University of Roehampton and the University of Sydney has found.
The research which involved kangaroos, marsupials that were never domesticated, at three locations across Australia*, revealed that kangaroos gazed at a human when trying to access food which had been put in a closed box. The kangaroos used gazes to communicate with the human instead of attempting to open the box themselves, a behaviour that is usually expected for domesticated animals.
Ten out of 11 kangaroos tested actively looked at the person who had put the food in a box to get it (this type of experiment is known as “the unsolvable problem task”). Nine of the 11 kangaroos additionally showed gaze alternations between the box and the person present, a heightened form of communication where they look between the box and human. MORE