One of the things that make human relationships special is our ability to disagree with one another. Although arguments aren’t always good, they are an essential part of building a robust and healthy relationship! In fact, one might say that you can’t truly have a relationship without overcoming occasional disagreements. Historically, we’ve always thought of humans as being unique in this regard, but one video of sea lions may just show us differently!
In a recent video, we see that humans are not the only animals to get into arguments. Sea lions do too! It all begins with four sea lions at the Denver Zoo. These four are sitting on their rock enjoying their day when clearly, an argument breaks out.
Humans haven’t cracked the code to translate sea lion-speak into English, but sometimes body language is all you need! In fact, sea lions may not speak human languages, but they are some of the most advanced communicators on the planet. Whether it’s above or below water, they have highly evolved vocal cords that they utilize to great effect.
As anyone who lives near sea lions knows, these intelligent creatures aren’t shy when it comes to their vocal cords. Universally recognized as some of the most vocal mammals on earth, they use a variety of barks, growls, and grunts to communicate with one another.
With communication, however, comes miscommunication! As we can see in the video, these four seem to have had a disagreement over something rather important (probably something fish-related). Getting up close and personal, they bark loudly in one another faces, hoping to get their point across. Maybe they aren’t so different than humans after all!
Although it’s funny to imagine them fighting over fish, it is likely a territory-related dispute. Despite living in extreme proximity to one another, sea lions can be quite fierce when it comes to their territories. Each year, males will bark non-stop in order to let any other males around know that the rock he is on is his. Once territorial lines have been established, the barks defend territory, warning other males off of their space. When the breeding season is over, the less dominant males will begin barking as a way to try and establish themselves.
Female sea lions will also bark and can become quite vocal, although their reasoning is different than males. The most common reason for a female to bark is in communication with their pups. Females have a special tone they use with their pups known as a “mother-pup recognition sequence” that allows them to identify each other easily. Also, females become especially aggressive and vocal after birth in order to ward off any potential threats!
Despite being a bit vocal with each other, the four sea lions in the video seem to have made temporary peace. What better way to celebrate than to strike a pose! They will probably be arguing again tomorrow, so enjoy the 5 min of peace and quiet while it lasts!
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