Sunday 7 April 2019

World's smallest bears' facial expressions throw doubt on human superiority

First time exact facial mimicry has been seen outside of humans and gorillas
Date:  March 21, 2019
Source:  University of Portsmouth
The world's smallest bears can exactly mimic another bear's facial expressions, casting doubt on humans and other primates' supremacy at this subtle form of communication.
It is the first time such exact facial mimicry has been seen outside of humans and gorillas.
The research, by Dr Marina Davila-Ross and PhD candidate Derry Taylor, both at the University of Portsmouth, is published in Scientific Reports.
The researchers studied sun bears -- a solitary species in the wild, but also surprisingly playful -- for more than two years.
They found bears can use facial expressions to communicate with others in a similar way to humans and apes, strongly suggesting other mammals might also be masters of this complex social skill and, in addition, have a degree of social sensitivity.
Dr Davila-Ross said: "Mimicking the facial expressions of others in exact ways is one of the pillars of human communication. Other primates and dogs are known to mimic each other, but only great apes and humans, and now sun bears, were previously known to show such complexity in their facial mimicry.

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