New Study Finds Kangaroos Can Learn to Communicate With Humans

A new study has found that kangaroos can intentionally communicate with humans, a trait normally associated with domesticated animals such as dogs and cats.

This footage, shared by researchers Alan McElligott and Alexandra Green, shows a kangaroo gazing at McElligott as the animal attempts to access food from a container during an experiment at the Australian Reptile Park near Sydney.

According to the study, which was led by researchers at the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the University of Roehampton and the University of Sydney, kangaroos that have never been domesticated “actively gazed” at experimenters during problem tasks – “challenging the notion that this behavior results from domestication,” researchers said.

The study involved 16 kangaroos at the Australian Reptile Park, Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Kangaroo Protection Co-Operative, and showed how kangaroos gazed at a human when trying to access food that had been placed in a closed transparent box.

“Through this study, we were able to see that communication between animals can be learned and that the behavior of gazing at humans to access food is not related to domestication," Dr McElligott said in a statement.

“Kangaroos showed a very similar pattern of behavior that we have seen in dogs, horses and even goats when put to the same test.” Credit: Alan McElligott/Alexandra Green via Storyful