These bears mimic each other's faces as well as people do
The world's smallest bears have a social skill set previously thought limited to apes and dogs, and there may be more species like them.
In social interactions, our faces can become like mirrors, reflecting subtle expressions back at our conversation partner. It might be for validation, or sympathy, but whatever the purpose, facial mimicry is a key part of humanity’s complex social world. We aren’t alone among animals in the use of facial communication, but our degree of finesse and precision had only been seen in our relatives, gorillas. Now, researchers have recently uncovered this social superpower in another species, one very different from hypersocial apes—the sun bear.
“As wild individuals, they are living more or less by themselves,” says Davila-Ross. “The males are quite territorial and the females are with their offspring, so it's as close to a solitary species as it can get.”