New research suggests that kangaroos are capable of intentionally trying to communicate with people, in a similar way to domestic animals.
And now researchers from the University of Sydney and the University of Roehampton in London have evidence that suggests this Aussie folklore is true.
In an experiment conducted on 11 captive kangaroos of various species, researchers presented the kangaroos with a task they couldn’t solve, in this case, food inside a closed box.
When the kangaroos realised they were unable to open the box themselves, they looked from the person, back towards the food, in what’s being interpreted as a request for help. Some of the roos even approached the researcher, pawing at and sniffing them.
This type of interaction is usually only observed between humans and animals that have been domesticated for hundreds of years, so to see it in animals that are traditionally wild, is well, wild!
Dr Alexandra Green is a co-author of the study and told The Guardian, ‘We think that instead of it being something that you’ve evolved with, it’s something that you can learn given the right environmental conditions. So in the zoo setting, where they are captive and around humans all the time, we think that they’ve learned to express this behaviour.’
This doesn’t mean you can approach any ol’ kanga or roo in the wild and expect them to sit down for a yarn. But maybe interspecies communication isn’t as difficult as we think.