We have seen animals playing. But we never know that the animals do mimic the face of other animals when playing. A new research has now shown that animals do often mimic.
A group of researchers at the University of Pisa in Italy said that animals often imitate each other’s facial expression. It is for the time that such mimicry of animals is established. Sociobiologist Elisabetta Palagi, who led the team, said that they experimented on dogs and horses.
They found that animals can recognise facial expression of their own species as well as humans. For the research, they examined hundreds of dog and horse from YouTube. They later focused on 20 videos of different pairs of dogs and horses playing freely without human interference.
They found that the animals showed relaxed mood with open mouths toward each other. This was a common playful expression in mammals. Both the horses and dogs were seen rolling, which is considered a friendly signal. In addition to this, they also found that dogs and horses imitated each other’s face quite often.
They saw that dogs quickly imitated the faces of their fellow species more than those of strange animals. These also happened between dogs and horses, they added.
The researchers say that playing is quite often seen in animals and birds. Playing is needed or the growth of animals. It is known to help animals to build relationships, relieve stress and develop key behaviors.
The journal Behavioral Processes published the findings.