Elephants Are Far More Intelligent Than Previously Thought

Posted: Apr 12 2017, 11:55am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Elephants are Far More Intelligent Than Previously Thought
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  • Elephants have Body Consciousness and are Intelligent as Well

Apparently, elephants have body consciousness and are much more intelligent than we thought them to be as well.

Asian elephants are quite capable of affirming the fact that their bodies are lumbersome and get in the way of several tasks that they have to do. Thus they possess the art of seeking solutions to their problems via animal IQ and awareness.

Normally, scientists have been testing intelligence in animals and children using the mirror self-recognition test. The acid test lies in whether the animal or child can recognize the image before it as a reflection of itself.

Up until now only a handful of animal species have shown this ability to be conscious of a second self in the mirror. Moreover, these animals take it to correspond to their original self as embodied in their body.

These include within their ranks: the great apes, dolphins, magpies and elephants. This skill is a sign of complex thinking that involves taking a different perspective as well as the fine art of empathizing with something other than oneself.

There are voices in the wilderness that say the test fails on several accounts. They say that it does not lend itself to gauging complex thoughts and savvy.

Those animals who rely less on vision would also easily fail the test and that too not for lack of intelligence or empathic trust. The real thing is body awareness.

This is the true acid test of intelligence and honed instinct. The animal recognizes its body as getting in the way of its tasks. Thus this signifies the distinction between one’s self and the environment.

To test for body awareness in humans, children are told to push a trolley while it is standing on a mat on which they too happen to be standing.

In the animal version of the test, a stick was attached to a rubber mat via a rope. The elephants were commanded to walk on the mat, pick up the stick and give it to a human subject.

This would aid the researchers in gauging whether the elephants had any sense of body awareness or not. In the control group, the stick was unattached to the mat.

Elephants are known for their innate sense of intelligence. Not only do they recognize their reflections in a mirror but they also consistently choose cooperation over competition.

The Asian elephants stepped off the mat to hand over the stick to the human subjects some 42 out of 48 times. This result has profound implications for animal intelligence. It shows that self-awareness is a key characteristic of elephants.

The results of the study are published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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