8 Animal Behaviors That Still Can't be Explained by Science
Science continues to unlock the great mysteries of why these wacky non-humans do what they do with increasing regularity. But there's still a ton about nature's creations that baffle us to this day. Here are some of them.
Why do cows face north or south when eating?
Aside from "at the table" or "in front of the TV," you probably don't think much about what direction you face when you eat. But cows do — almost universally, a cow will face either north or south come dinnertime. And while we know how they do it, we have not one idea why.
How can animals predict earthquakes days or weeks in advance?
It's one thing for an animal to sense an earthquake seconds before it happens — we've known they can do that since ancient Greece wasn't ancient. We even know why: according to the US Geological Survey, two types of waves come out of an earthquake: a large S-wave, and a tiny P-wave that typically arrives seconds before the S-wave. Animals, unlike humans, can sense the tiny P-wave, so when they do, they know it's time to run. So if your pet randomly starts panicking and running off for the safety of higher ground, follow them — because you've got about five seconds before everything around you starts shaking like a Polaroid picture.
Why do animals play?
It seems like the easiest conclusion in the world: animals play because it's fun! More than that, they learn stuff by doing so. Play-fighting teaches them how to fight for real, playful romps build lifelong friendships, and the like — everyone knows that, right? Well, as it turns out, we actually know nothing definitive about why animals play because, when you break it down, the very idea makes very little sense.
How do sharks navigate?
There's plenty about sharks we don't know, like how exactly they navigate the ocean. Despite much of it being dark, empty, watery space, sharks can effortlessly go wherever they need to go, sometimes over thousands of miles, without getting lost. We're flummoxed as to why, and science is no closer to a definite conclusion now than we were years ago.
How do young cuckoo birds know exactly where to migrate?
Usually, bird migrations aren't hard to figure out: kids follow mama to wherever they need to go. In the case of cuckoo birds, however, it's a tad different. For one thing, they don't really have "moms." A female cuckoo will lay her eggs, then deposit them in another bird's nest, then fly off to party, probably. Meanwhile, the egg hatches, and the chicks are raised by a completely different species, like a real-life Dinosaur Train. The baffling part, however, is how these cuckoos, who've not been raised by any other cuckoos and won't encounter any other cuckoos along the way (they tend to fly solo), know instinctively where to migrate and how to get there. Despite no family or flock, they all wind up in Africa for the winter, and nobody knows how they do it.
Why do chimpanzees wage war?
Cute as they may look, chimpanzees are downright mean. They're so mean, in fact, they've been known to hunt, kill, and even eat their fellow chimps. What's worse, they do it in an organized, group-oriented, methodical manner, or what we call "war." Yep — chimp tribes have been observed waging war against nearby chimp tribes, meaning Planet Of the Apes isn't that unrealistic after all. As to why they fight this way — as opposed to how basically every other species hunts merely to eat — is currently unknown.
Why are Great White shark migrations so weird and disorganized? Read More: http://www.grunge.com/71991/animal-behaviors-still-cant-explained/?utm_campaign=clip
We know less about Great White sharks then we do regular sharks, mainly because every time we try to study one in captivity, they die fast. One of the biggest mysteries about great white behavior is where exactly they go, and how they get there. As National Geographic points out, Great Whites have possibly the weirdest migration patterns of any shark. Rather than everybody going in roughly the same direction, Great Whites tend to zig-zag here and there in random, seemingly disorganized fashions. Some stay near coasts, others wander into the deep centers of the ocean. Some move north for the summer, and south for the winter, like birds might — but not all do this. Males, females, and cute little shark kids all seem to follow different paths as well.
Why do crows hold grudges?
Crows are scary smart and, as it turns out, scary petty. As researchers in Seattle learned in 2011 (according to LiveScience), not only do they remember the faces of humans who held them captive, they'll foster grudges to the point where — years later — they'll attack, peck, and dive-bomb their ex-captors. To a crow, revenge is a dish best served forever. Why they do this, however, is unknown. Crows could just as easily forgive and forget, yet they don't. There don't even appear to be many theories as to why, even though we don't really know.
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