Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ele-fant testing

When I grow up, I want job of being ele-fant tester:

"An 8ft mirror was put in the elephant enclosure at the Bronx zoo in New York and a watch kept on its three inhabitants. The first question was if they greeted their reflection as if meeting another individual - they did not make this mistake, and used the mirror to inspect themselves, for example, moving their trunks to look at the inside of their mouths.

Inspecting the mirror and trying to look behind it - as did the Bronx elephants - is another indicator of self-awareness. One of the three also passed the "mark" test when painted in a place it would normally be unable to see. It touched the paint mark on its head after looking in the mirror.

Diana Reiss of Columbia University in New York said that the research helped explain the society in which elephants lived: "Humans, great apes, dolphins and elephants, well known for their superior intelligence and complex social systems, are thought to possess the highest forms of empathy and altruism in the animal kingdom.""

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