SCIENCE

Antarctic Brown Skuas Won't Forget Your Face — Especially If You Visit Their Nests

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Mar, 28, 2016, 06:48 PM
Tags : Animals, Biology
Antarctica Skua
(Photo : Getty Images/ Danita Delimont) A new study conducted by researchers from South Korea found that Antarctic seabirds could remember and recognize humans after they have met them a few times.

A new study conducted by researchers from South Korea found that Antarctic seabirds could remember and recognize humans after they have met them a few times.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, it's "not unusual for intelligent bird species" to have the capabilities of remembering interactions with humans. For that reason, it's easy to understand why they are able to recognize people. Crows, dubbed as one of the most intelligent bird species, are perfect examples of creatures that will definitely remember you from that time you sat in the park reading a book.

Brown skuas, known to scientists as Stervorarius antarcticus, are Antarctic birds that hardly make contact with humans. Nonetheless, they were able to recognize the human researchers that studied their breeding habits. This only took a few visits.

"It is amazing that brown skuas, which evolved and lived in human-free habitats, recognized individual humans just after 3 or 4 visits," said Won Young Lee, one of the study's researchers. "It seems that they have very high levels of cognitive abilities."

The researchers also learned that if the birds were approached by a number of humans, they were likelier to attack the ones that had visited their nest previously.

"I had to defend myself against the skuas' attack," Yeong-Deok Han, one of the researchers, told Science Daily. "When I was with other researchers, the birds flew over me and tried to hit me. Even when I changed my field clothes, they followed me. The birds seemed to know me no matter what I [wore]."

The researchers wore the same clothes, and still the birds were able to recognize one from another. According to the researchers, this means the birds were identifying the humans from their facial features.

The researchers believe that part of the reason for the skua's intelligence has to do with their creative scavenging skills. Skuas are known to steal other animals' kills and even steal breast milk from elephant seals.

Looking for a long time companionship with an animal? You may want to consider the skua. 

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