What's a girl to do when she discovers a large
white cross on her forehead? In the case of
Happy, an Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo in New
York, she raises her trunk and touches the cross
on her mirror-image thereby passing a standard
test known as the âmark testâ. Happyâs
response was on a par with those made when human
children or great apes are presented with the test.
Happy, with her companions Patty and Maxine, were
shown a very large mirror, and it was observed
that after initial exploratory behaviour sniffing
the mirror and looking behind it, the elephants
took an increasing interest in their reflections.
This led to each peering into its own mouth.
There was no evidence of an elephant mistaking
their reflection for that of another.
This self-recognizing trait is thought to relate
to empathetic tendencies and the ability to
distinguish oneself from others. The study was
carried out by scientists from the Yerkes
National Primate Research Centre, Emory
University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York.
Posted By johannes to
at 3/06/2007 12:43:00 PM
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