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Elephant self-awareness

A wire story Wednesday from the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service described a study from researchers at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta that suggests elephants can look into a mirror and recognize themselves.

According to a story by Jamie Talan of Newsday, "Humans used to think themselves unique in their capacity for self-awareness and empathy. Then came evidence that the Great Apes share in this same ability. And then dolphins."

And now elephants.

"This ability to recognize themselves in a mirror suggests a higher level of self-awareness," said Diana Reiss, a senior research scientist at the Wildlife Conservatory Society in New York, and a co-author of the study.

So why do we keep elephants in zoos, in small dirt enclosures with a couple of toys?

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2006
Under: Elephants, Self-awareness | 5 Comments »