Photoshop artists have been known to create some pretty terrifying images by adding human characteristics to animals and objects. However, there are actually some animals in the world that possess creepy human-like traits on their own. These traits could be physical or behavioural, but they all have one thing in common: they remind us that humans may not be as unique as we think we are.
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Whether it’s a monkey with eerily human-looking facial expressions or other animals with Human-Like Characteristics these creatures will make you think twice about the nature of our species. And while some Photoshop creations might fool us into believing they’re real, the existence of these animals is a chilling reminder that the line between human and animal is not always so clear-cut.
THE SHEEPSHEAD FISH
Have you ever heard of the sheepshead fish? It’s a sport fish found in the Gulf of Mexico that is known for its distinctive appearance – a head like a sheep and creepy human-like teeth. The resemblance is so uncanny that it’s hard to ignore, but it’s also what makes this fish so fascinating.
The sheepshead uses its teeth to break the shells of its prey, which includes crabs, mussels, and barnacles. While it may be unsettling to look at, there’s no denying its unique charm. Plus, if you can get over the way it’s smiling at you, it can make for a delicious meal when served up with some lemon and garlic.
The coruro is truly a curious creature. Despite its physical similarities to both rats and capybaras, it’s unique in many ways. With its long, curved buck teeth and glossy brownish black fur, it’s certainly an eye-catching animal. But perhaps the most interesting feature of this mysterious creature is its ears- which happen to look like human ears.
Although multiple theories exist about the functionality of these ears, science has yet to truly understand their purpose. What we do know is that the coruro possesses super sensitive hearing, and can even pick up sounds at low frequencies that most rodents cannot. Whether this unique ability relates to its communal burrow-living habits remains unclear.
THE WHITEMARGIN UNICORNFISH
Have you ever heard of the “uncanny valley”? It’s a eerie phenomenon where something looks almost human, but not quite right. Most often, this term is used to describe robots that resemble humans, but have imperfections like fake mouths that don’t move realistically. However, this feeling can also extend to animals- particularly, the whitemargin unicornfish.
This saltwater species, found in the Indo-Pacific, has a bizarre resemblance to a human face. Although it’s obvious that this is a fish, something about the humanoid features is enough to make you feel like you’re living in a scene from a sci-fi movie. It’s no wonder why some hobbyists add this species to their tanks- the fascination with the uncanny is a longstanding human tradition.
THE HARPY EAGLE
Have you ever seen a bird that looks like a human? It may seem bizarre, but the harpy eagle fits the bill. While it may lose its resemblance as soon as it takes flight, the harpy eagle’s shape when it’s sitting around on the ground or in trees looking right at you is strikingly similar to that of a person. Not only does this eagle look like a person, but it’s also massive in size – longer than many adults are tall.
Its square shoulders, broad chest, round face, and piercing eyes give the impression that it’s a human dressed in a strange costume. From head-on, it even looks a lot like the Hound in armor, only with feathers. The prominent feathers above its eyes add even more to the effect, like human-like brow ridges.
THE EMPEROR TAMARIN
Primates are fascinating creatures, and our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. It’s no surprise that they have many features in common with us, from their hands and feet to their faces. But some primates can be so comically similar to us that it’s hard not to do a double take. The emperor tamarin, with its glorious mustache, is one such example.
According to Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, the monkey’s mustache might be its most recognizable feature and could even be used to identify other members of its troop. In fact, the emperor tamarin’s mustache is so impressive that some believe it may have been named after German emperor Wilhelm II, who also sported a magnificent ‘stache. Regardless of its origins, there’s no denying that the emperor tamarin’s mustache is one of the animal kingdom’s most unique features.
THE WHITE LIPS CICHLID
Fish lips are a guaranteed source of amusement, especially when watching aquarium fish swim around. Who hasn’t stood around at a fish tank, making fish-lip faces for the entertainment of others? While most fish lips give us a good chuckle, some, like those of the Mdoka white lips cichlid, are simply priceless. As experts from Imperial Tropicals will tell you, only mature male Mdoka white lips cichlids have this distinct feature, which they’ve yet to uncover a concrete theory for.
However, it’s hard to deny that the white lips give these fish a hypnotic “come hither” look, possibly signaling their readiness for mating. Even though only a few studies have mentioned this species, it’s clear that their unusual lips have given them a one-of-a-kind classification as “Mdoka fish lips.”
Raccoons have gained a lot of popularity due to their portrayal in Guardians of the Galaxy as badass and cool creatures. However, let’s not forget that at the end of the day, they are trash pandas. They may steal your cat’s food, knock over your garbage, and wreak havoc in your chicken coop. One of the lesser-known facts about raccoons is that they have surprisingly human-like hands.
While they lack opposable thumbs, their hands can function almost like human hands. Visually, their feet are even more bizarre. From the bottom, they resemble human feet, leaving us to wonder why. Despite their quirky features, raccoons have a knack for making their way into our lives and homes, love them or hate them.
Red foxes are quite unique animals – they don’t look or smell like people, but they have the ability to sound like them. However, this is not in a pleasant way. According to Live Science, red foxes can make screams that sound like humans when they are in great danger, just as if someone were being murdered. It’s interesting to note that these screams are not the only sounds foxes make.
They actually have around 20 different calls, some of which are identifiable as typical animal noises, such as barks and growls. Nevertheless, if you ever hear a red fox make that one other sound, the one that sounds like someone is dying right outside your window, you might want to call someone or pick up the phone to dial 911 as fast as you can. Otherwise, it might just be too much for your heart to handle.
THE GOLDEN LANGUR
Monkeys are known for their resemblance to humans in some comical ways. From the mustaches to the grumpy old man faces, it’s not uncommon to see these primates dressed up in hats and vests and looking cute. However, as we get closer to some species like the golden langur, the familiarity can get uncomfortable.
At a distance, it may seem like any ordinary monkey but as we move closer, its face starts to look surprisingly like a human. From the shape of the eyes to the placement of the nose, there’s something about its features that makes it difficult to ignore the resemblance. You may find yourself staring into a face that feels like you’ve met before, even if it’s not quite a person.
Humans have a strange obsession with breeding our pets to look and act in ways that would never work in the wild. Just imagine a pack of dachshunds trying to hunt down milkbones in the vast German wilderness, or hairless cats stalking catnip mice on their silken pillow mountaintops. It’s clear that these pets wouldn’t last five minutes in the wild, but that’s alright because that’s not why they’re bred to look like living hotdogs and shaved rodent-monkey thingies.
And it’s not just about their looks either – take the Afghan hound, for example. With long, flowing locks that resemble Cher, it’s clear that these qualities serve no evolutionary purpose. But that doesn’t stop us from breeding them to look that way and turning them into the adorable pets we know and love, even if it can be a bit strange at times.
THE SHORTNOSE BATFISH
The shortnose batfish is not your average looking fish. With its face resembling that of an angry old man, it’s hard to believe that this creature belongs in the water. However, this fish doesn’t just swim around like any other fish – it walks on four legs like a frog. And if the facial features and walking legs weren’t weird enough, the skin on this fish looks like the textured ceiling from your grandma’s house.
Don’t be surprised if you encounter this odd-looking creature while snorkeling in its home-waters between Florida and Venezuela. However, chances are slim due to their excellent camouflage skills and nocturnal habits. You’ll probably return to the surface thinking you were transported to an alien world. Don’t worry, the shortnose batfish is not endangered or threatened – probably because no one would dare eat such a strange looking fish.
THE AFRICAN GREY PARROT
Have you ever wondered what a parrot truly sounds like when it speaks like a human? We all have an idea of how a parrot might say “Polly want a cracker,” but in reality, parrots can sound incredibly different from what we imagine. African grey parrots, in particular, are experts at mimicking human speech.
Their ability to imitate other birds in the wild also transfers to their ability to mimic humans in captivity. In fact, blindfolded, you might not even be able to tell the difference between their voice and a human’s. It’s fascinating to think about the evolution of these birds, and how their impressive skills have developed over time.
Rhesus macaques might not bear a strong resemblance to humans, especially when compared to other species, yet they possess striking similarities that go beyond mere physical appearances. These monkeys exhibit a form of morality, a trait that was conventionally believed to be unique to humans, albeit certain subsets of humans.
Scientists are often wary of falling into the trap of anthropomorphism, as highlighted by The Guardian. This caution has led them to assume that animals lack the capacity for moral sensibility. However, those of us who share our lives with pets have long held a different belief. Recent scientific investigations have finally delved into this aspect, already familiar to many, using rhesus monkeys as subjects.
In a series of studies, conducted recently, scientists embarked on an exploration of this facet that had been recognized by others but not rigorously studied. One such study, dated 2014 and published in Psychonomic Science, affirmed that a hungry monkey would refrain from activating a mechanism that dispenses food if doing so concurrently subjected another monkey to an electric shock.
NEW CALEDONIAN CROWS
Formerly, scientists believed that the skill of tool-making was an exclusive attribute of humans; however, this assumption has been refuted by evidence. In 1960, Jane Goodall shattered this misconception when she observed chimpanzees modifying sticks by stripping their leaves, using them as implements to catch insects.
While this behavior is expected in chimpanzees due to their genetic proximity, sharing around 96% of our DNA, it becomes remarkable when observed in other creatures, particularly those not belonging to the same biological classification as humans.
As reported by Science Daily, New Caledonian crows have also demonstrated the ability to create tools. The noteworthy aspect of the 2018 experiment, which unveiled this capability, lies in the fact that the crows exhibited a higher level of sophistication than merely removing leaves from sticks, a rather rudimentary form of tool-making that lacks impressiveness in a comparative context.
Prairie dogs may possess an endearing appearance, yet their classification as rodents tends to unsettle humans. The notion of intelligent rodents is met with apprehension, as it conjures fears of a scenario where these creatures attain supremacy over the entire world, leaving no space untouched by their influence. The consequences seem dire, envisioning a world where pristine, mouse poop-free garages become a distant memory, and hantavirus rises to prominence akin to the impact of COVID. The prospect is simply too nightmarish to fathom.
Nonetheless, let us venture into this possibility. Prairie dogs defy the archetype of a typical rodent. Their vocalizations go beyond the usual squeaks of mice or the chattering of squirrels, as they exhibit a remarkable form of communication.
As highlighted by biologist Con Slobodchikoff (as reported by CBC), who has dedicated three decades to the study of prairie dogs, these animals employ distinct calls to convey various types of threats to fellow members of their colony. This communication extends beyond basic alerts such as “airborne predator” or “ground-based threat.” Instead, their calls differentiate between dogs and coyotes, discriminate between large and small dogs, and even distinguish between black and brown dogs. Impressively, they are capable of describing the stature and attire color of a human, the pace at which the person is moving, and can discern whether the person carries any form of weaponry.
Chimpanzees, our closest biological relatives, exhibit an uncanny array of behaviors strikingly reminiscent of human actions. These primates showcase distinct personalities, possess the ability to laugh, engage in upright walking, and fall victim to a range of diseases that also affect humans. Remarkably, they are even capable of initiating conflicts of the magnitude of wars, which inflict casualties over extended periods.
As reported by Discover, one of the most notable instances of chimpanzee warfare occurred in the 1970s within Tanzania’s Gombe National Park. The conflict was ignited when a faction of chimpanzees branched off from the main group to establish their own territory. Over subsequent years, both factions dispatched “war parties” into each other’s domains, culminating by 1974 in a severe situation where northern chimpanzees relentlessly intruded upon the southern territory with the sole intent of eliminating rival male chimps.
Though the confrontation was largely one-sided, characterized by northern chimpanzees attacking and killing their southern counterparts, the brutal conflict persisted for almost eight years. Ultimately, the southern group’s male population was decimated, leading to the expansion of the northern group into their rivals’ former territory, marking the end of the war.
What animals have similar characteristics to humans?
chimpanzee and bonobo
What animal characteristics do humans have?
- Large brains
- Large body size
- Long lives
- Prolonged childhoods
What is it called when animals have human characteristics?
Animals with human-like characteristics have always intrigued and captivated humans. From the intelligent dolphins to the mischievous monkeys, these animals have been subjects of fascination for countless generations. While it is easy to attribute these similarities to mere coincidence, many scientists believe that there is more to it than that. Recent research has uncovered remarkable similarities between the brains of humans and animals, further reinforcing the link between the two. These findings not only underline the need for us to treat these animals with respect and kindness, but also provide a deeper understanding of our own evolution.
Rahul M Suresh
Visiting the Zoo can be an exciting and educational experience for all involved. As a guide, I have the privilege of helping students and visitors alike to appreciate these animals in their natural habitat as well as introducing them to the various aspects of zoo life. I provide detailed information about the individual animals and their habitats, giving visitors an opportunity to understand each one more fully and appreciate them in a more intimate way.