Study: cats can imitate humans

Researchers have shown that cats can mimic the actions of their owners in controlled scientific

conditions. This ability has been noticed in only a few creatures, and this discovery suggests that imitation in mammalian evolution appeared relatively early.

“It's really exciting - notesChristina Vitale is an Animal Behavior Specialist at Unity College, USA. - Many people think that cats are loners and antisocial animals. However, this study confirms that they have the ability to observe and learn from people. "

Claudia Fugazza, ethologist at Etves UniversityLorana, for almost a decade, studied the ability of dogs to learn using “do as I do” training. In this case, the animal must copy the behavior and receive a reward for it. Over time, the animal learns that the command "do as I do" means "copy my actions." This approach can be used to test whether animals can actually imitate and copy actions they have never done before.

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In sixteen studies, cats accurately copiedactions of their masters in 81% of cases. For example, a cat could touch the box first with its face, then with its paw, learning the same behavior in humans. This means that the cats were able to transfer the body parts of the owner onto their bodies.

As the researchers note, so far onlydolphins, parrots, monkeys, and killer whales have proven their ability to imitate humans. According to them, cats with the same abilities can be widely distributed in the animal kingdom, developing in the early stages of animal evolution. However, in order to confirm their theory, scientists need to do more research.

But Claudio Tenney, an ethologist at the UniversityTübingen is not impressed with the results of the study. It is impossible to tell from this study, he said, whether cats have an innate ability to imitate humans, or whether intense “do as I do” training gave them this ability. "We can train bears to ride motorcycles, but that doesn't mean bears can ride motorcycles on their own."

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