Kangaroos can communicate with humans!

Last updated at 07:41
Kangaroos can communicate with humansPA Media
The kangaroos were given a task they couldn't solve

A new study suggests that kangaroos can communicate with humans, meaning our skippy pals from Down Under are cleverer than we previously thought.

Researchers from the University of Sydney and the University of Roehampton in London, gave a series of kangaroos an "unsolvable task" - food inside a box they couldn't open.

However, rather than give up when they couldn't get the food, the kangaroos would look to the researcher and then back to the box, as if they were asking for help.

Some of the kangaroos even started scratching and sniffing at the researcher and then looking back at the box, suggesting they were really trying to communicate.

KangarooGetty Images

Now, if you have a dog or a cat at home, you might be thinking they do that all the time! This is exactly what surprised the researchers.

Dr Alan McElligott, lead author of the study, said animals seeming to ask humans for help was generally only something that had been seen for those that had been domesticated for hundreds of years.

He said: "Kangaroos showed a very similar pattern of behaviour we have seen in dogs, horses and even goats when put to the same test."

Kangaroo

The study was done with just 11 kangaroos from various species, but McElligott said it was the first research of its kind conducted on marsupials.

The researchers hope the findings will also help Australians gain more respect for kangaroos.

Dr Alexandra Green, a co-author of the study, said: "They aren't considered as cuddly or cute as koalas, so sometimes kangaroos get a bad rap."

"Hopefully, understanding that they've got these complex, cognitive skills will represent them in more positive light as well."

However, Green said the research did not mean anyone should approach kangaroos in the wild, hoping to have a chat with them:

"You most definitely should not. You read a bit about kangaroos attacking people, so yeah, I wouldn't recommend it."

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