As anyone who has ever forgotten to spell out “w-a-l-k” can attest, dogs can understand our language. One recent study showed that dogs can learn up to 165 words and gestures and that they can count. And dogs aren’t the only animals you can depend on in an emergency either—a rabbit recently saved her human family from a house fire.
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Could birds call each other “humanbrain” as an insult? Like humans, crows and ravens are very social and have large brains for their body size. They also rival humans and monkeys in their ability to delay self-gratification for a greater reward. They are articulate, too, as evidenced by escaped former companion birds who are now teaching their flocks to understand English. If a family planning to welcome a new baby is having trouble picking a name, perhaps they should consult with parrots, who name their offspring.
Dolphins talk to each other in a way similar to humans, too, by adjusting their muscular tension and air flow. Words likely not in their vocabulary? “Imprison,” “abuse,” and “exploit” …. But if they are familiar with those terms, it could explain why scientists in Australia are just now discovering a new species of dolphin—maybe they were hiding!
Written by Michelle Kretzer