Part of the reason that elephants possess such a superior level of intelligence is the structure of their brain. That’s only about 5 percent lower than how one-year-old human babies perform on similar tests. Part of the reason that elephants possess such a superior level of intelligence is the structure of their brain. The study concluded this behavior is “best classified with similar consolation responses by apes, possibly based on convergent evolution of empathic capacities.” This is one of interesting elephant facts,elephants facts for kids about elephant behavior or behaviour. Although initially estimated to have as many neurons as a human brain, [2] the elephant's cortex has about one … Elephants and humans have a similar lifespan, and plenty of time, approximately 10 years, is allowed for them to learn before they are considered to be independent adults. The idea that only humans make tools is today "an unsustainable position," de Waal writes by email. 2. Proportionally, the elephant's brain is the most sizeable at a mass of just over 5kg. The cortex is thick and comprises many neurons. But they're like people in a lot of ways, and on World Elephant Day, that counts for something. We humans pride ourselves on our big brains. They caress the bones of the dead with their trunks and will stand near the body of the deceased for hours. The strongest relationship is between mother and child -- mothers and daughters, in particular, will usually remain together their entire lives until the mother passes away. Elephants mourn their dead It would be a stretch to say elephants, or any other animals, understand death in the same way humans do. Elephants have exceptional memories, cooperate with each other, and demonstrate self-awareness. The need for such a large and complex organ becomes clear when we consider the behaviours and abilities of these animals. In a 2011 experiment, researchers in Thailand devised a system in which two elephants could reach a platform of food only if each pulled her own rope. After hanging a delicious cantaloupe treat in the enclosure of seven-year-old Kandula -- just out of reach -- researchers observed him rolling a square cube to the treat, standing on it for better reach. The elephant is one of the few creatures (along with human beings) that is not born with survival instincts, but needs to learn these during infancy and adolescence. Elephants presumably remember their own kind even better. At first glance, the African elephant doesn’t look like it has much in common with us humans. Humans have a high level of self-awareness and abstract thought. The information contained in this website is for general information / education purposes only. (There's always that one.). Researchers recently observed evidence that elephants might understand human pointing. What was remarkable about that feat, the researchers explained, was that Kandula did it without any trial and error, demonstrating an understanding of cause-and-effect problem-solving. The elephants in the study used both physical contact and vocal sounds as forms of comfort, stroking one another with their trunks and emitting small chirps. And they're smarter than we give them credit for. June 24, 2012. Researchers at an elephant park in Thailand studied 26 elephants in six groups to determine that elephants comfort other elephants during suffering. (No, they didn't stress the creatures out on purpose -- they waited for such an occasion to present itself naturally, like a snake rattling in the grass or the sound of a dog nearby.) And when members of a herd lose a beloved family member, they become visibly and audibly distressed. And while the other two seemed ambivalent toward the white marks, the researchers noted that only around half of chimpanzees -- generally held up as one of the most intelligent creatures -- pass such tests. If the voice belongs to a person who is more likely to pose a threat, the elephants switch into defensive mode. Using Our Intelligence for Good While it appears that cetaceans have incredible abilities to feel emotions, understand complex problems and communicate in ways we can’t even imagine, humans … She found that in terms of size relative to the body, dolphins have larger brains. Which allows them to be more empathetic. 8. Although the largest whale is 20 times the body size of an elephant, its brain is just under twice the size. And it's also been observed at a certain zoo in Poland, angering a local politician. But where they really excel is in cognitive function. Even chimps have trouble with pointing. Elephants have the largest brains of any land animal. If we aren't careful, most of these creatures could be extinct by 2020, according to some conservationists. The answer was that the human cerebral cortex has almost three times as many neurons as the elephant brain. In one study, however, researchers were able to show just how insightful this species can be. When members of a herd pass a dead elephant, they've been observed silently touching the bones, perhaps out of respect. Understanding what pointing means is an extremely complex cognitive skill. It's long been thought that elephants grieve -- they're even capable of shedding tears. In fact, some enthusiasts believe that their intelligence rivals that of human beings. One, named Happy, even passed the "mark test," which included touching a white X the researchers had painted on her (and the other elephants') foreheads, only visible in the mirror. Previously, this behavior was only seen in apes, wolves and some kinds of birds. You might think it's humans by a long shot, but the reality is a lot more complicated. Scientists estimate that the elephant brain grows for about ten years, giving elephants an enormous amount of time to acquire knowledge. Watch him here. Unlike humans, elephants are probably a little more accepting of others' personal preferences. In fact, they skillfully use their trunk as an arm to manipulate objects. While we endeavour is to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no claims or seek credit for the content, unless it is explicitly specified. In addition, elephants are able to learn new facts and behaviours, mimic sounds that they hear, self-medicate, play with a sense of humour, perform artistic activities, use tools and display compassion and self-awareness. Others have been observed digging a hole to reach drinking water, and then plugging the hole with a ball formed from chewed bark to prevent the water from evaporating, thus saving it for later use. One 2007 study found that chimpanzees share about 98 percent of the same DNA as humans. Research in the past decade has shown elephants to rival the brainiacs of the animal kingdom in their ability to use tools. An elephant is not as intelligent as a human, because an elephant brain is formed and wired to do elephant things. But as a percentage of its body mass it ranks at the bottom. This is generally accepted to be an indication of complex intelligence. In one experiment, researchers at the University of Sussex found elephants have a strong interest in their own dead, preferring to investigate the skull of a deceased elephant over a piece of wood or the skull of a rhino. Humans come out on top of the EQ ranking, followed by dolphins, chimps and gorillas. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! The key difference is that our change does not create opportunity, but rather takes it away. Having a sense of self, the Emory researchers suggested, may be a reason for elephants' social and altruistic habits. This is generally accepted to be an indication of complex intelligence. Elephants are all-around curious and creative creatures. Elephants are capable of a range of emotions, including joy, playfulness, grief and mourning. Not only did all of the test subjects figure out the rope system, but they understood the importance of a helping hand trunk -- they couldn't get to the food by themselves. Elephant behaviors that show they are really smart Elephants can identify language. In this article, we will discuss about elephant intelligence and learn more about elephant brain, elephant behavior, elephant behaviour, and memory of elephant. They are recognised as being among the most intelligent creatures on earth. Watch the clip again, this time pausing at each feature mentioned, to gradually compose a sorting key, comparing humans and elephants. Pulling one end got them nowhere. Chimpanzees are at about that level of intelligence, but even then they are outperformed in some ways. It sounds simple, but pointing indicates a sense of self, too -- your independent thoughts may be communicated to another through gesture. And it's not uncommon for responsibility of the herd to be passed down to the deceased matriarch's closest female relative. An elephant in India trained to lower heavy wooden posts into pre-made holes once refused to place one of them until a sleeping dog was shooed from the bottom of the hole. Like primates and birds, they engage in play. Deceased elephants are buried under dust, branches and leaves, and a mother elephant may stay with the body of a deceased calf for days. The exuberant greeting the two elephants exhibited when they were reunited was the first indication that they had known one another before. The information is collated from various sources, we have done our best to provide the original link to the source and also to credit the sources as and where we have the required credit information. The brain is specially designed to accomplish this sort of life learning. Elephants have been known to use sticks to scratch themselves in areas they couldn’t otherwise reach, and fashion fly swatters out of branches or grass. Elephants continue to fascinate both scientists and general observers alike. Another test showed that elephants understand pointing, using, of course, their trunks. We support around 70-80 kg of weight on two legs, while it … Establish that it was the elephant's long nose, or trunk. They prefer to use one tusk over another -- be they right-tusked … Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. When the amount of brain tissue in a series of animals is plotted against size, from mice to elephants, there is a roughly linear relationship. Researchers at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK have discovered that African elephants can distinguish differences in human gender, age, and ethnicity purely by the sound of someone’s voice. First, this indicates that the intelligence of elephants is on a par – in a general way – with the intelligence of dolphins and chimpanzees. 6. Without any previous training, the elephants picked the correct container almost 68 percent of the time. Unlike most human societies in history, elephant herds are matriarchal, where one female cow presides over a herd of females and adolescents. The cortex is thick and comprises many neurons. Most humans have a dominant hand, and elephants too have a "handedness," of sorts. Elephant brains are similar to humans' and many other mammals' in terms of general connectivity and functional areas, with several unique structural differences. Dolphins are so distantly related to humans that it’s been 95 million years since we had even a remotely common ancestor. Researchers Are Using Artificial Intelligence To Stop African Elephant Poachers Conservationists are deploying audio recorders, neural networks and predictive analytics in a … Part of HuffPost Environment. Carol Buckley recounts a case where two elephants, Shirley (~53) and Jenny (~30), were reunited at the Elephant Sanctuary after 23 years apart. We never seem to tire of bragging about how our supreme intelligence empowers us to lord over all other animals on the planet. Evidence suggests helping one another out is a regular part of life in an elephant herd. However, the value for some animals lies significantly above the line, while others are well below the line. Our very history is entwined, with elephants and humans evolving in parallel hundreds of thousands of years ago. Brainy Elephants: One More Way They’re as Smart as Humans. While we're still learning about elephant intellect -- a far greater number of studies have been conducted on other large-brained mammals like chimps -- what's been found so far suggests a creature that's kind, self-aware and very loyal. ("We were supposed to have a herd, but as Ninio prefers male friends over females, how will he produce offspring?") Although elephants have been observed displaying markedly less interest in the carcasses of other animals, one anecdote suggests otherwise. New artificial intelligence could save both elephant and human lives. The only thing I knew about elephants is that they have a really great memory but I had no idea they had all these other amazing abilities! Today is National Voter Registration Day! After all, elephant families have a lifelong bond. They saw the elephants make chirping noises and reassure the unhappy ones with a kind "hug." ... compared with three out of … Surprisingly, elephants aren't so different from us. Their neocortex is highly convoluted, as it is in humans, apes and some dolphins. Before leaving the scene, however, it covered the bodies in leaves and twigs. Other herds may visit the body, as well. Elephants have extraordinary memories Memory of an elephant. The fact that Happy passed that test, the researchers said, indicates the capacity of elephants to recognize themselves as individuals rather than just part of a pack. Elephants mimic human voices . Bonds between male elephants of the same sex have been observed in the wild -- homosexual mounting and erotic play being a fairly common sight between young males in particular. Our very history is entwined, with elephants and humans evolving in parallel hundreds of thousands of years ago. Our change is to strip the bone bare and leave nothing more for the planet to utilize and rejuvenate from. Furthermore, elephants have the same cognitive capacity for the use and manufacture of tools as humans. Researchers at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK have discovered that African elephants can distinguish differences in human gender, age, … Elephants have been observed using tools in captivity and the wild, including branches to swat away flies. Adult males, meanwhile, roam either alone or in bachelor herds. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Humans ” Stephanie Rose Polinak September 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm. "So what do we have that no other animal has? Observations and experiments indicate that chimps are capable of empathy, altruism, and self-awareness, which is where their intelligence is similar to dolphins. Elephants are able to track one another over large distances by calling to each other and using their sense of smell. One especially clever elephant, though, thought up a way to game the system. No, the human brain does not have more neurons than the much larger elephant brain—but the human cerebral cortex has nearly three times as many neurons as … This is generally accepted to be an indication of complex intelligence. While we're still learning about elephant intellect -- a far greater number of studies have been conducted on other large-brained mammals like chimps -- what's been found so far suggests a creature that's kind, self-aware and very loyal. Designed & Powered by SARAS ennovations | Sitemap, Elephant intelligence, brain, behavior, memory - Elephant facts, Conservation Success - Stories that Inspire. Their neocortex is highly convoluted, as it is in humans, apes and some dolphins. 1. And yet around 35,000 of these pachyderms were killed in 2013 alone, and there's a continuing demand for their valuable ivory tusks. When researchers stood between the containers and did not point, the elephants approached them randomly. Instead of pulling on her end of the rope, she simply stood on it, forcing her partner to do all the work in pulling. The cortex of an elephant's brain has as many neurons as a human brain. Part of the reason that elephants possess such a superior level of intelligence is the structure of their brain. Our work shows that they are able to recognize their friends and renew these bonds even after being apart for a long time. Like the elephant we eat large amounts, we utilize water for drinking, bathing and pleasure, and we trample new lands in our expansive wanderings. But elephants have demonstrated fascinating reactions to the deaths of their kind, often displaying what appear to humans as symptoms of grief and mourning. Add elephants to the tiny list of species that can make sense of it ... which provides elephant rides in the area of Victoria Falls. In the event you are the rightful owner of the contents published here and wish to update the credits or request removal of your copyrighted contents, please write to us and we will take the appropriate actions. 2 thoughts on “ Elephants vs. In a 2006 study of three Asian elephants, Emory University researchers placed a mirror in the enclosure of three female Asian elephants. Their neocortex is highly convoluted, as it is in humans, apes and some dolphins. Elephant brains are born at 35% their adult weight, compared to 28% for humans. Amazing facts about animals. Yet when it comes to intelligence, social behavior, and communications, some researchers say dolphins come as close to humans … Elephant Intelligence Extraordinary Memories Recognizes people who they've encountered Ability to develop PTSD Emotional Intelligence (EQ) of 1.88 compared to humans at 7 Mourn Dead Repeated visits to bones of relatives Burying victims Cover their own dead Shows Empathy Matriarch 5. While examining behavior can give us a way to measure intelligence, we have to look at biology as well. A higher EQ generally but not always syncs up with what we perceive as greater intelligence. Certain anecdotes suggest their compassion extends to other creatures, as well. For her Ph.D. thesis, scientist Lori Marino compared the skulls of dolphins and toothed whales to apes. If you consider the huge size of the elephant and the long vocal tract and other anatomic differences, for example he has a trunk instead of lips and a huge larynx and he is really matching the voice pitch of his trainers, this is really remarkable. Okay, fine -- elephants aren't people. Pigs are not smarter than 3 year old children. Each creature investigated the mirror by touching it with their trunks to see if it was really another elephant, exploring the back side to see if there was another elephant hiding there, or inspecting some part of herself to see if the reflection copied her. A recent study observed Asian elephants comforting one another when distressed. ©2020 Verizon Media. They tested this by pointing at food hidden in one of two identical containers, and observing which container a group of captive African elephants approached. 8 Facts That Show Us Elephants Are People, Too. It's a tragedy for any animal to face extinction, but it would seem like a special tragedy to lose this one. The cortex is thick and comprises many neurons. Published on Nov 21, 2015 An elephant's brain is four times heavier than a human's. Only a few species other than humans have shown they can do this - great apes, dolphins, magpies and elephants. Elephants have passed a test of intelligence which scientists say has “profound” implications for our understanding of their mental capabilities. Prepare to be dazzled by the not-entirely-harmonious piano stylings of this elephant named Peter and his human friend! In 2004, an African elephant trampled a human mother and child to death in Kenya. This is incredible. They don’t behave this way toward the remains of other animals. That left 5.6 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex of the elephant compared to 16 billion neurons in the human cortex. All rights reserved. Sometimes they even try to bury the remains. ELEPHANT INTELLIGENCE. 'S also been observed using tools in captivity and the wild, including branches to away... Caress the bones of the time tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get news. Stylings of this elephant named Peter and his human friend a `` handedness, '' sorts... Also been observed at a certain zoo in Poland, angering a local politician entwined, with and... Value for some animals lies significantly above the line, while others are well below the line is strip... Heavier than a human 's Smart elephants can identify language again, this time pausing at each feature,. 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We give them credit for understand human pointing a 2006 study of three Asian elephants, University... Been observed displaying markedly less interest in the human cerebral cortex has almost times. A 2006 study of three female Asian elephants part of the EQ ranking, by... Known one another over large distances by calling to each other and using their sense of,... At a certain zoo in Poland, angering a local politician to track one another.. While others are well below the line, while others are well below the line, others! The human cortex `` hug. at biology as well ten years, giving elephants an enormous of... Behaviours and abilities of these pachyderms were killed in 2013 alone, and there 's a continuing demand for valuable. Matriarch 's closest female relative heavier than a human mother and child to death in.. Point, the Emory researchers suggested, may be a reason for elephants social! Local politician the scene, however, the elephants switch into defensive mode simple, but rather takes away... And wired to do elephant things lifelong bond animals on the planet to utilize rejuvenate. On our big brains researchers at an elephant park in Thailand studied 26 in! World elephant Day, that counts for something work shows that they had known one another distressed! Local politician watch the clip again, this behavior was only seen in apes, dolphins, magpies elephants.