Animal Behaviors That Still Can’t Be Explained

Animal Behaviors That Still Can’t Be Explained

We learn more about animals every day as science
continues to unlock the great mysteries of why these non-humans do what they do… but
we don’t know everything. There’s still a ton about nature’s creations
that baffle us to this day. Here are a few animal behaviors that still
can’t be explained. Why do cows face north or south when eating? You probably don’t think much about what direction
you face when you eat, aside from “towards the TV”, but cows do. Almost universally, a cow will face either
north or south come dinnertime. And while we know how they do it, we don’t
actually know why. According to one German study, cows can sense
Earth’s magnetic field and will align their bodies to face north or south while eating,
sort of like a compass that goes great with A-1 sauce. What’s more, the study discovered that deer
also adhere to the north-south thing — but why? When birds conform to the planet’s magnetic
field, it’s for navigational purposes, but mammals don’t migrate the way birds do, rendering
this magnetic path seemingly pointless. And a later study revealed that, in larger
herds, the cows paid less attention to the direction they faced while chowing down. But why the change? Animals rarely do stuff for no reason. Biologist Richard Holland’s best theory is
that mammals did once routinely migrate a lot, and the north-south thing is a leftover
evolutionary feature. But that, like everything else, is simply
a theory. How do animals predict earthquakes? We’ve known for a very long time that animals
know when the Earth is about to start shaking, and we even know why. You learned this stuff in basic Earth Science:
an earthquake produces two types of waves: a small P-wave, and a larger S-wave. Animals can sense the tiny P-wave that comes
before the S-wave much better than humans can, so when they do, they know it’s time
to run. What’s baffling, however, is that some animals
can sense an earthquake weeks before it actually happens. According to historical records, in 373 BC,
a huge earthquake rattled Greece, but the rats, snakes, and even centipedes all got
to stepping long before the natural disaster made its presence known to humans. To this day, we have no idea why. Researcher Joseph Kirschvink theorized that
there may be more warning signs to earthquakes than we can currently sense, which animals
are reacting to. But despite all of our fancy equipment, we
still haven’t sensed a thing. Point, snakes. How do sharks navigate? Despite Shark Week being America’s #1 holiday,
there’s plenty we don’t know about sharks, 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. Scientists from the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography think it has to do with the sharks sniffing their way home. There, scientists took several wild leopard
sharks, moved them roughly six miles from home, plugged their noses with cotton, and
released them in the opposite direction of their stomping grounds. Other sharks without cotton in their nostrils
returned right to their hideout, but the ones who couldn’t smell wandered aimlessly. “Whoa, you smell that?” But despite the experiment’s findings, not
everyone’s convinced. Marine biologist Kim Holland from the University
of Hawaii at Manoa thinks the cotton-balled sharks’ confusion was just due to having stuff
shoved up their noses, which would probably disorient anyone. Other studies dispute the chemical idea, suggesting
that sharks use changes in light and temperature as clues they’re near the finish line. For now, both sides’ guesses are as good as
any. Why do crows hold grudges? Crows are scary smart and, as it turns out,
surprisingly petty. As researchers in Seattle learned in 2011,
not only do they remember the faces of humans who held them captive, they’ll foster grudges
to the point where they’ll attack, peck, and dive-bomb their ex-captors, even years later. To a crow, revenge is a dish best served forever. Why they do this, however, is unknown. We know crows have incredible memories, but
we don’t know why they insist on attacking somebody they don’t like. Instead, researchers are focusing on ways
to keep the crows from dive-bombing people into oblivion — like treating them better
while in captivity. Whether that works to curb their revenge-fueled
minds remains to be seen, but it certainly never hurts to be nicer to animals. Especially the ones who remember. Why do lonely ants die? Ants are incredibly social creatures. If you run into one, chances are there are
about 15 million more nearby. But as it turns out, they’re not just social
because there’s strength in numbers. In fact, if an ant’s left alone, they will
literally die — and do so super-fast. In a 2015 study, a species of carpenter ants
was shown die off after a mere six days after being separated from their friends, who lived
an average of two months when allowed to be social. Kinda makes A Bug’s Life seem extra dark now,
huh? The isolated ants were observed walking much
more than social ants. And while they ate as much as social ants,
much of the food never left the crop area of their stomach, where ants store food meant
to be regurgitated for family. So, they ate a lot, but very little wound
up in their digestive tracts, so they all but starved to death. And we don’t know why. It certainly sounds like depression, but why
do their digestive habits change so much? Are they looking for family, as the study
theorizes? “I’m gonna follow him home. Kill his whole family.” Right now, all that’s certain is that a lonely
ant is destined for death. That is, until science figures out a way to
create… Anti-deppressants. Thanks for watching! Click the Grunge icon to subscribe to our
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28 thoughts on “Animal Behaviors That Still Can’t Be Explained

  1. Thanks for watching! Check us out everywhere else for more cool stuff!

  2. Crows are probably just angry about so many decades of being mistreated. I feed a couple of corvids (crows, ravens, magpies) and they always circle above me when I go out, watching over me or being curious about the person who likes them. They are amazing birds!

  3. Cows and deer arrange themselves that way so they don't crash into each other if they have to stampede. It's easier for pointy, horned prey animals to face in the same direction. That way nobody gets hurt.

  4. Cows face north or south while eating because that way they will never be facing into the sun blinding them from seeing potential predators. At least that is my theory and I am sticking to it. 😛

  5. We had cows on our farm for as long as I can remember, but I never really noticed the cows eating North to South. In fact, sometimes we fed them food from a bag, and if I recall correctly, we were facing west, and the animals were facing the east eating the food. I just don't know.

  6. My guess about the cows is that they evolved eating in one direction in order to make grazing more consistent and even which benefits the grass and the herd.

  7. Great vids on the creatures of this world. Grunge worms??? Just messing. I always say good morning to any Magpie I see even if it is the afternoon.

  8. Guinea pigs sometimes chirp almost like birds. But this is a very rare fenomena.
    Often when they do this they appear to be in some trance like state. Other guinea pigs around them often listen intently.
    What these chirp songs mean and why guinea pigs perform them is still a mystery.

  9. I was watching the False Facts play list, Then I heard the "Ant-i-depressants" joke and it reminded me to hit like on this and now I'm going to go back and hit like on the others too.

    That is the power of an awesome pun!

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