#2. Fruit 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."
#1. Pigeons Are Superstitious
If there's any type of thought that most would probably agree is purely human, that would be superstition, because intelligence goes two ways, right? The only animal smart enough to build a computer is probably also the only animal dumb enough to believe that wearing a lucky pair of socks will increase his chances of winning the lottery. But there actually is another animal capable of superstitious beliefs, and it doesn't take a lifetime of conditioning to train them. We introduce you to your favorite car ruiner ... the pigeon.
B.F. Skinner, the famous psychologist a lot of you probably know as "that guy with the box," didn't just put rats in his boxes, but pigeons, too. At regular intervals, Skinner had a mechanism that would release food inside, and the pigeons would gobble it up like there was no tomorrow. The pigeons really liked the food, and they couldn't understand how to make more of it come out.
But because they couldn't wrap their minds around the concept of random food, they started to believe that by doing certain actions, they could make the Pigeon Food God spit out pigeon food. For instance, one pigeon was spinning in a circle right as the food happened to arrive, and thus decided that spinning was what made the food appear.
"Quickly! Cover the child to evoke the food from within!"
Each pigeon they tested developed its own belief system. One pigeon decided that turning around two to three times in a counterclockwise direction made food appear; other pigeons thought they had to do pendulum movements with their head, or regular nodding movements. Skinner made sure that all of the pigeons were already well-fed, meaning they didn't have to eat. So it's not like desperation drove them insane -- they were willing to believe anything as long as it gave them more ammo to poop on your car.
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For more reasons to be scared of animals, check out 8 Animals With Real Superpowers and 7 Superpowered Animal Senses You Won't Believe Are Possible.