We have compiled a list of instances of mental illness in other animals, but it is by no means comprehensive. It turns out that we’re not even the only ones that practice religion, therefore we’re not quite as special as avaricious religious fanatics had your predecessors thought.

10.Information exchange

Sharing knowledge, particularly across generations, elevates humans to the top of the food chain. It essentially sums up what culture is. It exists in other species as well. For instance, baby birds learn to fly by observing their parents, baboons teach each other the best foraging paths, and rats learn safe meals by smelling each other’s breath. Numerous such instances exist. It turns out that fish have their own “schools” and that they learn better from experienced teachers. Not only social species, though; solitary animals also exhibit a foundation for civilization. For example, young tortoises pick up navigation skills by watching others negotiate new obstacles.

It goes without saying that cultures perish along with their species. The remaining North Atlantic right whales are in much greater risk since they are unaware of their former ancestral feeding grounds, which has led to their near extinction due to human whaling activities. However, this is not to argue that culture is always positive. Established lifestyles can occasionally go out of balance with their surroundings, and a non-adaptive culture can drive a species extinct. People are learning this the hard way.

9.Odd patterns

Human trends are always becoming more bizarre in the era of TikTok. Of course, other creatures also are. The peculiar customs of Costa Rican white-faced capuchin monkeys include biting off a clump of fur from another monkey and holding it in the mouth while the other tries to get it back, as well as smelling each other’s fingers. Most importantly, these customs are usually short-lived, lasting no more than ten years (much like our own ten-year fads and styles). Additionally, because they are highly regional, tendencies observed in one group might not be in another.

These patterns usually don’t offer a definite advantage in survival. In fact, a recent habit among certain Costa Rican capuchins threatened their very existence: sticking a long, unclean finger into the socket above the eyeball of another monkey, all the way up to the first knuckle. Even though it’s obvious that the person receiving it is uncomfortable—they wince and bat their eyelids—they don’t try to stop it. In fact, they promote it, and the behavior can continue for up to an hour. One may draw a comparison between it to having a tattoo or piercing, only realizing that the agony was for nothing more than, possibly, the strengthening of social relationships, according to one theory.


Apart from peculiar behavioral patterns, animals also exhibit fashion. White-feathered bearded vultures provide makeup in the form of iron-rich dirt. Similar to how people dress, this also denotes rank, with the older, more powerful birds donning the brightest colors.

Fruit flies even exhibit signs of fashion. According to one study, after witnessing other females mate with green-dusted males, virgin female fruit flies favored them.

Then there are the monkeys whose ears are only fitted with one blade of grass. The incident began in 2010 when a chimpanzee in Zambia inserted one in her ear on its own and left it there. Even while there was no clear benefit—certainly not a direct survival benefit—other chimps started doing it, and then others, until four distinct groups were involved.

7.Substance abuse

Animals utilize drugs in large quantities. Dolphins get drunk on pufferfish before floating upside down in a trance staring at their own reflections; lemurs nibble on narcotic millipedes; and Jaguars in the Amazon autonomously seek out the DMT-containing yage vine used by humans to brew ayahuasca.

Non-human animals actually enjoy medications so much that they tolerate their drawbacks. For example, lichen-addicted bighorn sheep scrape their preferred narcotic from the rocks with their teeth ground down to the gums. After eating fermenting fruit, spider monkeys become ill and tumble out of trees. Conversely, a drunken moose in Sweden experienced the opposite issue—it became lodged in a tree.

Drugs are another way that animals deal with their low emotions. In a well-known experiment, rats housed in tiny cages with nothing to occupy their inquisitive minds were more inclined to select a sweetened morphine solution than water—and they drank the solution until they passed out. If fruit flies are unable to locate a mate, they even become drunk.

6.Expressions on the face

Is there anything that makes a grin, a frown, or any other emotion we express more specifically human? It turns out that a wide variety of other species possess facial expressions. For example, sheep are able to recognize and display facial expressions. Research has demonstrated that they can discern between signs of calmness, startledness, and terror in pictures of other sheep. They can even distinguish between humans based only on their appearance.

Dogs who have been raised are also capable of making facial emotions. The differences in the range of motion of wolves’ brows, eyes, mouth, and ears in the wild point to an evolutionary pressure for interspecies (human-dog) communication through selective breeding.

5.A sense of humor

Have people started to laugh? It doesn’t seem likely. Some scholars claim that it originated from the panting of apes engaged in playfighting. Similar to people, the panting and laughing noise signaled to others that the fight wasn’t serious. If a great ape is in a good mood, you can hear the same noise when you tickle them now.

A more sophisticated sense of humor has also been observed in certain primates. Koko the Gorilla, who was able to communicate using American Sign Language, once made the sign for “chase” by tying her trainer’s shoelaces together. While some biologists believe that all animals—including insects—are born with a sense of humor, others disagree, believing that only mammals possess this trait. They argue that, as Darwin noted, animal intelligence differs mostly in degree rather than kind and that we are always learning that they are smarter than we previously believed. It will be interesting to watch where this research goes, given the great apes have been the subject of most studies on non-human comedy thus far.

4.Difficult vocabulary

The amusing way in which Koko the Gorilla uses language demonstrates a grasp of complexity. For instance, she listed “rock” and “work” as the difficult things when asked to list them. Put differently, she realized the word had two meanings.

Surprisingly, however, prairie dogs possess the most sophisticated language outside of our own, neither big apes nor even marine creatures. These gregarious creatures have distinct sounds, or “words,” for various predators. For instance, their warning sound for coyotes is distinct from that of hawks, people, and other animals. That’s not all, though. Additionally, they possess “describing words” that enable them to describe the size, color, and other attributes of predators. They can therefore construct sentences. Additionally, when in captivity and in lab settings, they are able to describe objects that they have never seen before.

We have only just begun to explore the depths of prairie dog lingo. Matching the sounds and actions of predators is one thing, but prairie dogs never stop speaking. It’s nearly impossible to figure out what they’re saying when their behavior doesn’t alter dramatically in response to these noises (as ours usually doesn’t when we’re talking, like fleeing and hiding).


We are different from the rest of the animal kingdom, surely, because we create stories? You know how honey is to bees, and stories are to humans? Our only job is to communicate stories, whether they are found in history books, video games, science, or religion. However, it turns out that a lot of other creatures, including bees, share this behavior. The waggle dance is a well-known method used by bees to indicate where food is located. It conveys information about distance, direction, route complexity, and prize value. Regardless of perspective, they are both narrating a story. And why can’t mammals do it if insects can?

When a dog paws at their food bowl or scratches at the door to get outside, some have suggested that they are creating a story. When they talk about problems and their remedies, they also bring up other places—like, say, a desire to take a walk.

The narratives of non-human animals are not less valuable than those of humans for any reason. For example, it’s unlikely that the typical person could perform the waggle dance. It’s possible that certain animals are far more skilled storytellers than humans are. Some have suggested that dolphins could produce sono-pictorial holograms for one another in order to harness their sonar talents to communicate stories in three dimensions.

2.The spiritual life

Jane Goodall says that chimps seem to experience wonder. During her investigation, she witnessed them sitting down to observe a waterfall while swaying rhythmically. There are undoubtedly similarities between this and human spirituality, but they cannot be said to be the same. Certain chimpanzee actions, like scattering stones to create marks on trees, almost seem religious in nature. or simply find it enjoyable.

But we do know that dying is a ceremonial event for other creatures. When an elephant dies, it draws members of other herds in addition to its own. These events are known as parades. It’s interesting to note that even when a body draws predators, they remain with their fallen. It reminds me of the bravery that people frequently muster from their beliefs or faith.

Dolphins also engage in this behavior. A female’s body was discovered in 2000 on a seafloor close to Japan, and two males were always around. Her protectors just came up to breathe. And on two different days, the guys repelled the divers’ attempts to remove the corpse. The corpse vanished by the third day. In a different instance, dolphins were seen protecting an infant’s corpse while it decomposed and scaring away seabirds.

Chimpanzees are similarly respectful. Mothers will carry and tend to their dead babies for days, weeks, or even months after they pass away. She won’t quit until the body has completely decomposed. There are death rites for gorillas, baboons, macaques, lemurs, and other apes. Birds also grieve; crows, jays, and other birds frequently congregate in trees near the dead, seemingly in sorrow.

1.Preparing food

The use of fire aided in human dominance on Earth. It not only made it possible for us to survive in frigid climates but also increased our dietary choices and accelerated digestion. To the best of our knowledge, no other animal uses fire to cook food. However, some people can certainly do it. Before passing on this skill to his offspring, a bonobo learned how to make a fire with human-provided fuel and matches and used it to cook hamburgers and marshmallows. To be fair, the bonobo saw the movie Quest for Fire a number of times before he finally understood the concept, but he managed to master the ability on his own. In any case, even under ideal circumstances, a lot of people nowadays are incapable of starting a fire.

Of all, cooking involves much more than just using fire. However, other animals also prepare food for taste and digestion, not just humans. Before eating sweet potatoes, some Japanese macaques wash them; they like to flavor them with salt water. Pigs have been observed cleaning unclean apple slices in a stream; they even wash their meal. On the other hand, shrimpes impale their victims on barbed wire or thorns and let them decay before consuming them. In order to facilitate their cracking, capuchin monkeys store palm nuts in the sun. It’s interesting to note that bigheaded ants have a more sophisticated method of cooking: they place food on the bellies of their larvae, allowing them to spit enzymes onto it to aid in digestion.

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