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Animals and their behaviour has been fascinating to behold and even more incredible to experience. Humans have been intrigued at how the most basic creatures can do the most complex things. Ethology or the scientific study of animal behaviour is responsible for numerous breakthroughs in the understanding of the animal world, and in turn the human one. Animal behaviour can range from being altruistic, to funny, to being lessons in teamwork and commitment. Dolphins have been observed to help sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time and pulling them to the surface so they can breathe.
Male emperor penguins form a huddle during the cold and dark winter months where from tens to thousands of penguins lean on each other and gradually shift positions to obtain maximum warmth from the core of the huddle. Geese fly in a V formation as a flock to increase flight efficiency by 71% compared to one goose flying alone. Malaysian ants blow themselves up into a thousand bits of organic dust if they sense a threat to their colony.
Elephants are known to mourn their dead.
They stand around the body for days and pay respects to the dead elephant by touching their trunks to its body. Many animals, from earthworms to apes, are capable of learned behavior. They can alter their instinctive behavior by drawing on past experiences. With the help of technology, today scientists are able to find out much more about animal behaviour and the ways animals interact.
If scientists in the Smithsonian can teach orangutans simple language using computers they can also find out if other animals think like humans.
The knowledge they gain will help save wildlife and prevent endangered species from disappearing. So let's hear it for the creepies and crawlies, the slimies and furries who have successfully learnt to establish and protect territories, find food and water, court, mate, reproduce, nurture their young, and play in a mind-boggling array of conditions far beyond our fragile human capacity. “God gave unto the animals wisdom past our power to see: Each knows innately how to live. Which we must learn laboriously”.
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