Elephants from Bronx Zoo observe themselves in the mirror

Source: HLN (dpa)
Elephants are capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror. Up till now, only humans, primates, and dolphins have been known to recognize their reflection.
American behavioural scientists, however, report the new discovery in the specialist journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

According to the team of Atlanta University, led by Frans van de Waal, elephants were “logical candidates” for similar testing, because of their large brain and complex social behaviour. During the research, a mirror of almost three meter high was placed before three female Asian elephants.

The elephants investigated their reflection and also tried to see body parts that they normally couldn’t see. They swung their trunks to the side to see inside their mouths.

One of the elephants touched a white painted cross on her head, which she wouldn’t have been able to see without a mirror. In humans and other animals which possess a self-awareness, this is a sign of recognizing their reflection.