Kangaroos intentionally communicate with humans.

Sci-News.com wants all of us to know that kangaroos, despite never having been domesticated, still want to let us know what they’re thinking:

…[S]aid lead author Dr. Alan McElligott from the University of Roehampton and his colleagues.

“In species without hands for pointing, gazing at humans when dealing with inaccessible food during an unsolvable task, and in particular gaze alternations between a human and the unsolvable task, are often interpreted as attempts at referential intentional communication.”

“This type of communication is considered a prerequisite for mind reading because it represents a form of mental planning,” they added.

They focused on captive Kangaroo Island kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus fuliginosus) because they are known to be docile and interactive with humans.

They also tested small numbers of eastern gray (Macropus giganteus) and red (Macropus rufus) kangaroos.

The study was conducted at three locations in Australia: (i) Australian Reptile Park, (ii) Wildlife Sydney Zoo and (iii) Kangaroo Protection Co-operative.

The scientists tested 16 habituated kangaroos (12 Kangaroo Island, 2 eastern gray and 2 red kangaroos).

The study 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 behavior that is usually expected for domesticated animals: 10 kangaroos actively looked at the person who had put the food in a box to get; 9 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.

[via alphynix]