When you’re asked what the smartest animal is, what comes to your mind? Perhaps, it’s your dog that can roll over and shake hands with one command. You might want to switch your answer to elephants. Yes, the largest land mammal is also one of the smartest animals on land. Here are three discoveries of the African elephant behaviour that classify them as intelligent creatures.
Elephants can recognize themselves.
Many people come up with the assumption that because you can recognize yourself in the mirror, other living creatures can too. However, not every animal can recognize themselves through their reflections. For example: if you were to put a mirror in front of your dog, they would think it’s another do staring back at them and not themselves.
There are only a few animals that are self-aware, and those include dolphins, chimpanzees and of course, one of our favorite animals, elephants! An elephant is self-aware thanks to their large developed brains that contain more neurons than humans. Most of their neurons are used to move and control their large bodies but also used to think complexly.
Researchers were able to discover an elephant's ability to recognize themselves when they placed a mirror in front of them. They found that the African elephant behaviour included them investigating the mirrors and not socially interacting with their reflections like other animals did. Instead, they would examine themselves the same way as humans did in front of the mirror.
Elephants can distinguish between languages.
Elephants have great skills that can keep them away from potential danger. One of those skills include elephants being able to distinguish between human languages. Researchers have found that elephants know the difference between languages and figure out what ethnicity that person is from their voice.
This was discovered after researchers from the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, conducted an experiment using two men from different ethnic groups. One man was from the Maasai group (a group who had a history of killing elephants), and the other was from the Kamba group. Those men were then recorded saying in their language that elephants were coming. Those recordings were played back in front of elephants. When the African elephant behaviour changed heard the voice of the Massai man, they started to display signs of fear.
They have amazing memories.
You might have heard the phrase that an elephant never forgets. However, just like humans can forget, so can elephants. These magnificent animals do have some of the best memories in the animal kingdom. Their ability to learn and remember specific information has proven to make them one smart animal.
It was discovered that elephants are capable of remembering what they’ve learned from matriarchs. From a very young age, elephants get their knowledge from the older elephants. They remember these things to survive in the wild. Elephants are capable of remembering where to find water or food sources from the past. Whether they remember a smell, voice or specific piece of clothing from past experience, these creatures can recall certain things with experience to keep them alive.
An elephant’s intelligence is one of a kind in the animal kingdom. It’s critical to take the proper steps to keep them alive for many more years to come. You can help save the elephants by donating to For Elephants to continue providing research that will help keep elephants alive in the wild and zoos. Make a small donation today.