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This odd commonality between kids and birds could be a major neuroscience breakthrough.

Eating food off the ground, pooping with abandon, and language acquisition — three things kids and birds have in common.

This odd commonality between kids and birds could be a major neuroscience breakthrough.

You, like most humans, were born — and about a year later, you learned to talk.

A uniquely human story, right? Not so fast.

It turns out, when it comes to language learning, songbirds are a lot like humans.

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, suggests humans and songbirds both rely on patterns to categorize sounds into words.


The birds are already tweeting this story like crazy. Images by Thinkstock.

When human children acquire a language, they learn sounds and words at the same time.

These sounds work together to create patterns. These complex patterns are categorized as words.

When a child greets their mother for the first time, it might sound like they're just saying the individual "ma" sound twice in a row, but they're actually deliberately saying "mama" as a complex pattern, which forms a word that means something specific.

It may seem silly, but the difference is significant.

This sweet little guy is hiding out before the birds arrive. Image by Thinkstock.

Like humans, European starlings, a common songbird, use complex patterns to communicate.

Their "words" are made up of warbles, rattles, whistles, and other high-pitched tones — like children.

Baths now. Equal footing with humans later. Image by Thinkstock.

The researches wanted to see if pattern recognition influenced the ability of European starlings to categorize sounds.

In the study, two groups of starlings had to categorize a string of complex sounds.

The starlings in the first group heard the sounds in a specific order, while the starlings in the second group did not.

And boom. Without the sounds in a specific order, it was much harder for the second group of starlings to categorize what they heard.

Cooooool. So what does it all mean?

It means that the starlings rely on pattern much like humans do.

Be kind to our new bird overlords. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

This odd biological coincidence could be a breakthrough for neuroscientists.

While starlings don't use words, they can provide insight into the cognitive processes that make language learning possible.

Research and advancements like this shed some light on the brain, a wildly complex organ that we know very little about. There's still a lot of of work to be done in this field.

For now though, keep an eye (and ear) on the sky.

A chattering of starlings, no doubt discussing the avian uprising. Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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