VANCOUVER – Bear lovers rejoice! We are officially one step closer to fully communicating with our furry friends. For the first time in history, scientists have taught a bear to mimic human facial expressions with a sarcastic, dismissive vibe.
“I honestly never thought we’d see this level of bear-human synchronicity,” animal communication expert Dr. Paul Wednin told us.
“When bears look at people, they usually want to communicate something very simple, like ‘this is my territory’ or ‘feed me’. Getting a bear to communicate barely disguised disdain for the feelings of others through small but unmistakable expressions is a momentous breakthrough.”
You’re telling us!
The first big moment came last month, when Dr. Wednin had been working with a beautiful brown bear named Oak as part of a study on human-animal interaction.
Wendin was telling Oak how happy I was that he was enjoying his salmon. (Awww!) But then, Oak looked up, and instead of just signalling “Yes,” he shook his head back and forth like he was saying, ‘I’m sooo glad you’re enjoying your salmon,’ in a rude, unpleasant way.
“Oh course, he was really just saying, ‘raah, rarh raaah,’ but I knew what he meant,” Dr. Wendin added. “Even I never believed bears could be so mean. I mean, he knew I’d cooked it myself. I think that’s why he did it.”
“Anyway, not worth dwelling on anymore.”
Since then, the experiment has been done over and over again by scientists who persuaded their furry friends to respond with mocking, contemptuous facial expressions to a variety of human actions. These range from telling jokes, giving street directions over the phone, plugging in a laptop charger in an awkward place, and even confiding deep insecurities about careers and relationships.
“This one bear Millie actually made Jake over there cry when he said ‘I Love my work’, and she just slowly, slowly nodded and gave him this big, fake smile,” Dr. Wendin added.
While this is obviously great news for animal lovers, there wouldn’t be a great scientific advancement without somebody getting nervous about where it could go.
“Scientists are often so concerned with whether they can, they don’t stop to think about whether they should,” bioethicist Herb Quimby told reporters. “Right now, it’s bears giving us the stink eye when we start asking them if we can bounce an idea for a birthday present off of them. But where will it be five, six years from now? Bears cyberbullying us? Lets just think of the ramifications before we get carried away.”
All we know for noe is that bears are really starting to master the art of outwardly mirroring a human emotion while all the while subtly communicating that they absolutely don’t give a shit.
“Let’s just not get too excited about it though,” Dr. Wendin told reporters. “Otherwise Pookie over there is going to roll his eyes at me again and I don’t think I can take anymore today.”