3Elephants Mourn Their Dead
Elephants are like the Harvey Keitels of the animal kingdom: clearly badass, but with a stroke of mature intelligence that makes them a little less threatening. Also, constantly naked. But surely our idea of elephants as gentle, sensitive creatures comes purely from Dumbo, right? Well, there is one trait that we thought only humans had the emotional depth to possess: the ability to mourn the dead.
That's right: Where you think of animals as treating their fallen brethren as hunks of rotting meat, when elephants come across bones of their own kind lying around, they will gather around them and caress the skulls and tusks with their long, thick trunks.
Via Royal Society/Karen McComb
"OK, reel it in, pal. You're getting a bit too touchy-feely there.
Not only do they show clearly evident signs of respect for the carcasses of their fallen comrades, but they will even go so far as to "bury" the bodies under foliage or nearby brush.
And it doesn't end with the corpses of fellow elephants, either. In Kenya, one particular beast decided to forge ahead with a double homicide, killing two people. But instead of just leaving them around, the elephant went and buried them.
"I'm so sorry about this. Please don't think bad of me for it."
So yes, they'll still murder you, but they will feel guilty about it and treat your corpse with the utmost respect.
2Fruit Flies Drink Away Their Bitterness
For many of us, failed relationships and alcohol go together like New Year's Eve and also alcohol. That's one of the pressures of being human; we have our big brains and big emotions, and we need big containers of liquor to forget the bad feelings they churn up. But surprisingly, humans aren't the only creatures that do this.
Since fruit flies are very sexual beings in the first place, researchers wanted to find out what would happen when they were sexually rejected. This happens often with them, because female fruit flies are prudish things, as they don't like having sex a second time after they've recently mated. If a second male tries to mount her, she'll kick and run away, as you can see in the video below. Because hey, Mama fruit fly didn't raise no ho.
After the flies had their time with the female, the researchers gave both males who had been rejected and those who'd gotten lucky the option of eating normal food or food spiked with alcohol. While the happy fruit flies had no preference for either option, the rejected fruit flies were significantly more likely to eat the alcohol-infused food.
And yes, at a basic level, it's for the same reason you do it. Alcohol triggers reward chemicals in fruit fly brains, and when they don't get that satisfaction from sex, they'll get it from a bottle. Or a huge meal of alcohol-soaked food, in this case. And, with that, we're going to estimate that it will be 48 hours before some depressed college kid tries to eat a pizza he has soaked in gin.
"And now, I'm gonna play all the Radiohead songs I know at the same time."