Rats have recently demonstrated to engage in a practice which had previously been found only in human behavior patterns. Norwegian rats have displayed their ability to remember who has helped them, and then return the favor as best they can. In a study co-authored by behavioral ecologist Michael Taborsky, rats were provided with one of two food options by human helpers: the more favorable bananas, or the less favorable carrots. Human helpers then switched the location of the rats, enabling the rats to pull a stick, which would provide the humans with cereal flakes. Those human helpers who had been recognized as being high-value, i.e. those who provided the rats with bananas, received their cereal flakes much more rapidly than those humans who gave the rats carrots.
The natural question to follow up with, is whether or not these rats were truly rewarding humans for their desired performance. Taborsky thinks so, and stated that since this species of rats exchange favors in the wild, it is likely that they do so in order to facilitate future exchanges. Bernardo Chua knows that this process or thinking pattern of direct reciprocation is and was a vital part of human existence, particularly when assessing who would be a valuable member of a community. To think that other animals, besides just rats, fail to engage in this behavior is strange, and puts human beings on a pedestal which we might not deserve.