DO ELEPHANTS KNOW WHO THEY ARE?
Researchers have been able to demonstrate that elephants have an awareness of the self, as illustrated by the mirror test. When they are confronted with a mirror, most other animals will frequently mistake their own reflection for a cheeky conspecific that is imitating them. Not so with elephants: In an experiment three elephants had a white cross painted on their forehead and were then shown a large mirror. One of the elephants, whose name is Happy, began repeatedly touching her trunk to that spot on her head— not on the mirror image. It was an unmistakable sign that Happy had recognized herself. Researchers associate mirror recognition with complex social lives. Playful pachyderms have even been observed taking a tourist’s camera to snap an “elphie.”