North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Elephants join the club

Elephants join the club

Dallas, TX
Post #: 213
Elephants Recognize Selves in Mirror, Study Says

Interesting study on elephant self awareness.

- Travis
Lubbock, TX
Post #: 36
I think my cat recognizes herself in the mirror, but that article doesn't mention anything about cats; only great apes, dolphins, and now the elephant. But she hasn't felt compelled to check out her reflection since she was a small kitten. She did it a few times, and now never does. The first few times she was scared, didn't want to go near the mirror and would push away if you tried to put her closer. But now, she doesn't even think twice. However, she is still very afraid of other cats. I think it means she knows the reflection is her, because any other cat would represent a threat. What do you think? Wishful thinking on my part?
A former member
Post #: 3
My cats would look in the mirror, but I don't think they recognized themselves. Cats are very reliant on smell to recognize one another. I had three cats and after a bath they would act as if they didn't know one another. They would hiss and fight until their natural odor resurfaced.

This weekend I realized that my dog thinks my mannequin (used for sewing) is a person. I saw her looking at it strangely after I put one of my coats on it. She apparently associates clothing with people.

I wonder what the cognitive mechanism for self recognition is and why these elephants posses it...
Old Toad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 343
Our deaf dog reacts to us and other things in the mirror. For example, she can see us in the mirror reaching toward her from behind and will turn around to see.

Our other two dogs don't pay any attention to the mirror and never "see" us coming up from behind. If they don't hear us coming, they get totally surprised.

Makes me wonder about the validity of this kind of "self-awareness" testing.

-- Todd
Dallas, TX
Post #: 214
It's not the fact of whether the animal can figure out it's a reflection in the mirror, it's the understanding that it is seeing itself and recognizes that. The elephants examined themselves, reacted to spots on their bodies that they couldn't see without aid of the mirror, and searched behind the mirror to make sure it was them and not another elephant. The problem with dogs or cats is that one of them may seem to "get it" while others don't, or that one may pass one of the tests while failing the others, but the elephants exhibited all the signs for each elephant, no failures. I'm sure there will be more strident tests after this one that will either back it up or refute it, but I found it quite interesting. Elephants of all things. Where's the love for the cow.

- Travis
Santiago Valenzue...
Dallas, TX
Post #: 153
I hear elephants are tasty.
Old Toad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 344
Just for fun ...

The published finding was based on a test conducted on female elephants.

In an unpublished experiment similar to the published finding ... found that elephants failed the mark test."

Hmmm? Maybe the others were male elephants?

The researchers conclude in PNAS that mirror self-recognition might 'underlie the social complexity and altruistic tendencies shared among these large-brained animals."

Hmmm... ? How about this test:

Put a male elephant in a pen with a large mirror.

Spread a bunch of large tacks on the floor in front of the mirror.

Observe the behavior of the elephant when it steps on the tacks in front of the mirror.

Would the male elephant still need the mirror for self-awareness?

If not, what conclusion could we draw about the altruistic tendencies of the elephant?

Just wondering.

-- Todd
Plano, TX
Post #: 302
I hear elephants are tasty.

Yes, with a nice chianti and a side of fava beans.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 215
Just for fun ...

Where can we rent an elephant? I have some tacks.

- Travis
Allen, TX
Post #: 87
Run Babar, run!
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