It common lore that 'elephants never forget', and it's true that elephants are remarkable animals, but just how smart are they? In recent years, growing demand for ivory, particularly from Asia (China is the largest market for ivory), has led to a surge in poaching. Recent research however has shown this is not actually the case. RELATED: African Elephants in Zoos Threatened by Obesity. An incredible moment at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, showing the bond between Sangduen "Lek" Chailert and a young elephant named Faa Mai. In recent years, at least 20,000 elephants have been killed in Africa each year for their tusks. The warriors were known, and remembered, by the elephants as a group that could cause them harm, as the warriors have been known to spear elephants in order to show off their masculinity. What’s fascinating is that chimps, our closest animal kin, seem to have a lot of difficulty with pointing, implying that perhaps humans’ use of the gesture arose after our species parted ways. Nearly 300 persons are killed every year by wild elephants in India. The pointer in this study was Anna Smet, a psychology graduate student at University of St. Andrews. Shot by Poachers, Elephants Seek Human Help Elephant Poaching Declines in Africa, but 15,000 Still Illegally Killed Each Year Cellphones Are Silencing the 'Bird Languages' of Northern Turkey Researchers studying Asian elephants found the animals recognized themselves in mirrors. No You Don’t. Some populations of savannah elephants have also suffered major losses: in Tanzania and Mozambique, recent surveys show their numbers have dropped by 60% and 40%, respectively, in the past five years. There are several anatomical and behavioral differences between the different species. Elephants will splash around in the water just for the fun of it, jostle each other, and even call out to each other from far away, in anticipation of a reunion, when a prodigal elephant is returning to its group. An African elephant walks in Tarangire National Park, southwest of Arusha, Tanzania, Aug. 9, 2013. But nothing could be further from the truth. African elephants also suffer from land encroachment and human-elephant conflicts, but the leading cause of population decline is poaching for ivory. They live in tight-knit groups, and will help injured animals or bring them food and water. Elephants really are smart. By John Martin September 6, 2015, 12:00 a.m. A 63-year-old Indian male elephant, nicknamed Rajan, … Over the generations of human-elephant co-existence, there have been many examples of humans and elephants getting along. Elephants are among the most intelligent, socially intricate and emotionally complex non-human species - or so holds conventional wisdom. African elephants have huge complicated social groups ranging from tens to hundreds, whereas Asian elephants are often thought to be the loner elephants. It might not be able to survive a few years in the Amazon jungle, but we do think their actual intelligence level will impress you. All rights reserved. Dolphins pass the mirror test with flying colours! The rest of the unit is filled out by the matriarch's daughters and their new offspring, as well as several juvenile elephants. What do human-elephant conflict, smart cities, thermal power plants on a sea coast, C-section births and the recent migrant labour debacle have in … In Sri Lanka alone, a country close to the size of West Virginia with 20 million people and 5,000 elephants, roughly 70 people and 250 elephants are killed annually due to the human-elephant conflict. Asian elephants also have rounded backs and relatively smooth skin while African elephants display a sway back and very wrinkled skin.Tusks 1. This 'smart ear' brings a technological solution to the problems posed by humans living in close proximity to wild elephants, which kill scores of people in India every year. The Great Elephant Census spanned 18 countries and 295,000 miles, making it the largest, most comprehensive survey of African elephants ever. By Ashwin Lobo | December 7, 2020 Sharing is caring! Elephant Age in Human Years Conversion Ass Bear Cat Chicken Cow Deer Dog Duck Elephant Fox Goat Groundhog Guinea pig Hamster, golden Hippopotamus Horse Human Kangaroo Lion Monkey Mouse Parakeet (Budgerigar) Pig Pigeon Rabbit Rat Sheep Squirrel Wolf years equals They prefer to use one tusk over another -- be they right-tusked or left-tusked. (MORE: Hands Beat Feet: An Old Evolutionary Question is Answered). RELATED: Legendary Elephant 'Satao' Killed by Poachers. According to what I read at the website below, it's hard to compare. Most contemporary ethologists view the elephant as one of the world's most intelligent animals. To know you're looking at "yourself" in a reflection is a neat trick not many animals can pull off, but elephants can do it with aplomb. Quick Elephant Facts: Elephants are mammals. Elephants, known for their size and intelligence, are endangered. Do elephants point among themselves? It doesn't get less passionate after birth. Elephants pass intelligence test with ‘profound implications’ for our understanding of the species. Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family by Cynthia Moss is a thrilling and eye-opening read. There is even anecdotal evidence that elephants can remember trainers who have treated them poorly in the past. Elephant … Check out Yellow Magpie’s Elephants: PTSD And Killing People, The Elephant: A Grass-Guzzling Digestive System Phenomena and Elephants: A Remarkably Human Animal for further insight into this amazing animal.. Elephants were played recorded voices from several groups, and among the findings was that the creatures were able to identify voices belonging to threatening groups, moving away from those instinctively. Compared to humans, some scientists have stated that horses possess the intelligence of a 3-year-old child. Highly Recommended Get This Book Through Amazon. A newborn calf in elephant society is quite a to-do, and females have been observed making loud calls and bellowing as a new calf is being born. This is from a reliable publication. It’s possible of course that Byrne is wrong about that. African forest elephants’ ears are more oval shaped. Most of the national parks and reserves where elephants occur are too small to accommodate viable elephant populations. A mother elephant whose newborn has died will sometimes remain with the calf for days. According to what I read at the website below, it's hard to compare. Mom will also bathe her child, and she'll be quick to offer protection if the calf makes loud distress noises. “What really amazed us about the elephants was that we didn’t find any sign that they were learning it,” says Byrne. Brian Hare, a professor of psychology at Duke University who performs pointing studies with dogs, says he welcomes the new study’s insights and looks forward to further experiments that can help make clearer just what elephants understand human pointing to mean. African elephants mainly eat leaves and branches of bushes and trees, but also eat grasses, fruit, and bark. This skill is rare. In communities across Asia, elephants regularly destroy homes, crops and livelihoods. “I think it implies that they knew how to do it in the first place.”, (MORE: Honey, Not Now, It’s About to Rain. Whether human or elephant, mothers love their children. In total, they have 24 teeth: 12 front teeth, called premolars, and 12 back teeth, called molars. “The special thing about elephants is just how very social and empathic they are. The comforting elephant would use its trunk to caress the troubled elephant, all the while making gentle chirping noises. Dogs are naturals at understanding pointing—no surprise, perhaps, given what we like to think about their emotional complexity. It didn’t matter if Smelt was nearer the food bucket or farther away, suggesting that the elephants were not just choosing the bucket physically closest to her. Indeed elephants have been observed laying branches and grass on top of carcasses, after standing over them to be sure the immobile animal was in fact dead. Elephants have displayed distinctive mourning behavior, perhaps suggesting they have an inkling about the concept of death. She set up the experiments with 11 elephants belonging to a tourism company called Wild Horizons, which provides elephant rides in the area of Victoria Falls. They start puberty at 13-15, they go through menopause around 50 and average life is about 70. The average EQ is 2.14 for Asian elephants, and … As you can imagine, Anna and I are quite keen to find out.”. While many … Their social lives are so complex it has taken years of research to understand them, and we are still continuing to learn. Males will typically leave this unit to begin their wandering ways by the time they reach 15 years of age. Human babies don’t recognize that as pointing either.) African savanna elephants have large ears shaped much like the continent of Africa. On every trial, she looked back and forth between the elephant and the bucket, in the same way that people do when trying to catch each others’ attention. Reportedly, dolphins can remember whistles of other dolphins for up to 20 years. When the last molar wears out, the elephant dies because it cannot eat. Elephants are more human than we realize. It is the result of a sprint that started millions of years ago, leading to ever bigger brains and new abilities. Guwahati: A day after a fire-wielding mob attacked a herd of elephants in Assam’s Golaghat district, the state forest department with assistance from police Tuesday raided Thuramukh village, nearly 8 km from Golaghat town, in search of the culprits. Elephants make remarkable displays of joy and happiness, especially the young ones. Over the last few decades, that has led cognition researchers to an inevitable question: Can other creatures understand human pointing, and if so, what does it imply about their cognitive abilities? Most noticeable is the difference in ears. August 12 is World Elephant Day, first established in 2012 to bring attention to the plight of Asian and African elephants, which face habitat loss, threats from poachers, and mistreatment in captivity, among other species-threatening problems. First, while a subject elephant was held some way off by a handler, Smelt put up a screen and pantomimed putting food into two buckets, but actually filled only one. Elephants may even shed tears of joy, or relief, when their suffering has been eased, as was witnessed in an Indian elephant freed after 50 years of abuse. As if that weren't enough, African elephants have been found to be able to differentiate between gender and ethnicity in human voices, according to a study released in 2014. And they grieve for their loved ones. Sometimes a bone or tusk will be carried away by the group. A baby elephant is called a calf and can weigh around 200 lbs (91 kg) and stand about 3 feet (1 m) tall. Human brains and Elephant brain are different in more ways than one. “The question is are elephants slow[ly] learning some simple cues or are they thinking about [what others are] thinking and flexibly adjusting their behavior to others based on that understanding? Elephants use their teeth in sequence, not all at once. Human-induced habitat loss and habitat fragmentation prompted by increasing deforestation, ... which currently provides a Rs. Once you know how smart your cat really is, you will have another aspect of your relationship to take into account. Understanding what pointing means is an extremely complex cognitive skill. An Asian elephant named Koshik was able to understand a limited vocabulary of Korean words and also could imitate human speech in order to say the words. Here's something not seen in many creatures outside of humans, apes and some dolphins: self awareness. Isolation is … Between 2002 and 2013, the Central African forest elephant population dropped 65% and its range shrank 30%. Byrne says that so far there doesn’t appear to be any record of it, but he wants to study the question further. It's long been thought that elephants grieve -- they're even … This means that, at any time, they only have one tooth in each jaw, a total of four. The conversion of forested areas to agricultural use also leads to serious elephant-human conflicts. For example, one study found that African elephants reacted with disdain to the sight or even smell of clothing worn by Maasai warriors. They have been known to pause over the body of a dead elephant and remain there in silence for long periods. For comparison, a 2011 test of elephant intelligence and cooperative abilities found them merely "in league with chimpanzees and dolphins as being among the world's most cognitively advanced animals." In some parts of Africa, habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation are also threats, as is human­-elephant … Caitlin: Yes, elephants evolved as a social animal, just like humans. They can remember injuries they have incurred and they can hold grudges against those who have given them trouble. Human-elephant conflict Five years ago, researchers in Africa undertook a mammoth task: counting the continent’s elephants. In addition, elephants have around 257 billion neurons. Elephants have rather similar life cycle to humans: They reach puberty at thirteen or fourteen years of age. Brain size provides a rough measure of mental flexibility; large mammalian brains are associated with superior intelligence and complex social behavior. Michael Richards/Getty Images. The mother will be exceedingly vigilant with her new offspring -- keeping the tiny (by comparison) calf close, using her legs or trunk to nudge the child to its feet, even carrying the calf herself if the terrain doesn't permit the new arrival to make it on its own. A 2014 study published in the journal Peer J found that Asian elephants were able and willing to comfort a fellow elephant that had shown itself to be in distress. However, this formula doesn't take into account relevant factors such as breed or size. Elephants live up to around 70 years, with females mostly fertile between 25 and 45. Human babies don’t recognize that as pointing either.) They can live for about 70 years. I am wondering if an elephant born in captivity instinctively needs the same kind of social interaction as an elephant living in the wild. As Smart as a 7-Year-Old Child . 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. That’s because pointing indicates some rather complex cognition—an understanding not just that you have thoughts in your own head but that other people have different thoughts and that they can share them. 8. Pointing at something is one of those human universals that we do without thinking. And the simple business of pointing a finger is its first indicator. It didn’t matter if Smelt was nearer the food bucket or farther away, suggesting that the elephants were not just choosing the bucket physically closest to her. Add elephants to the tiny list of species that can make sense of it. Then she removed the screen and pointed at the correct bucket in one of a series of  postures—with her full arm, say, or with her arm crossed over her body. They live in complex social groups, cooperate to solve problems, recognize themselves in mirrors, use tools and even appear to … While a crow's brain may seem small in comparison to a human brain, what matters is the size of the brain in relation to the size of the animal. Something about their social lives and their social understanding is perhaps what has selected for this ability,” he says. Once they get to this age, they leave the herd and mainly live alone for the rest of their life. And in another great feat from our large-eared friends, a 2013 study showed that elephants also understand human pointing, something many great apes -- closer to us genetically -- can't even do. The capture and taming of elephants began in the Indus Valley more than 4,000 years ago and people have continued to capture, train and work them since that time. Poole and Petter Granli run the Savanna Elephant … Eventually, humans stood upright, took up the plow, and created civilization, while our primate cousins stayed in the trees. New Clues to Insect Mating Behavior). Incidents of elephants raiding crops and villages are on the rise. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, some 100,000 were poached across the continent. Favorite Answer. Home > Coverage > What do human-elephant conflict, smart cities, thermal power plants on a sea coast, C-section births and the recent migrant labour debacle have in common? They start puberty at 13-15, they go through menopause around 50 and average life is about 70. Easy online age conversion tool that converts Elephant age to Human years. Looking at the bucket or staring at the elephant until it chose did not result in it choosing the food bucket more either. This generally held conviction is based on legend as well as on decades of scientific research. During more then 30 years in Kenya, elephant researcher Joyce Poole has heard tales of elephants intentionally killing humans. The Extent and Effects of the Human-Elephant Conflict . There are two types of elephants: African elephants and Asian elephants. The formula of one human year equalling seven dog years has been accepted for so long that it's become common knowledge. Also, most horses can recognize themselves in the mirror, understand human emotion, and learn complex tricks or commands. RELATED: Africa Could Lose 20 Percent of Elephants. Human Age in Elephant Years Conversion Ass Bear Cat Chicken Cow Deer Dog Duck Elephant Fox Goat Groundhog Guinea pig Hamster, golden Hippopotamus Horse Human Kangaroo Lion Monkey Mouse Parakeet (Budgerigar) Pig Pigeon Rabbit Rat Sheep Squirrel Wolf years equals As the mass of the brain increases so does the learning ability of young elephants. Ask an elephant shot at by an angry mob, a shopkeeper displaced by a smart city project, a fisherman whose livelihood is destroyed by a power plant, a mother whose stomach is cut open unnecessarily so she can give birth to her child or a migrant who has walked hundreds of kilometers home – what they think of development. The oldest and most dominant female is the family unit matriarch. Shot by Poachers, Elephants Seek Human Help Elephant Poaching Declines in Africa, but 15,000 Still Illegally Killed Each Year Cellphones Are Silencing the 'Bird Languages' of Northern Turkey Elephant intelligence. RELATED: Elephants Added to List of Animals That Show Empathy. (MORE: A Commitment to Stop the Bloody Slaughter of Elephants). Africa’s human population is expected to nearly double by the year 2050, from 1.2 billion people today to an estimated 2.4 billion people in 35 years. Now, researchers publishing in Current Biology have found that a group of African elephants living in captivity in Zimbabwe seem to be able to understand pointing naturally, showing an impressive ability to choose a bucket with food in it as opposed to an empty one when a human is pointing toward the chow. They might also smell the body, touch it or even caress it. Pointing had to be a part of things. Figure about 85 yrs old human years at 16 yrs old. At 20 yrs old a cat is 96 human yrs. With a mass of just over 5 kg, an elephant's brain has more mass than that of any other land animal, and although the largest whales have body masses twenty times those of a typical elephant, a whale's brain is barely twice the mass of an elephant's brain. Following naturally upon elephants' displays of loss and grief are suggestions that they might even try to "inter," in their own way, their fallen fellow elephants. At 15 yrs old a cat is 76 human years old. They picked the right bucket with the same frequency regardless of how many chances they’d had to practice the test. New Clues to Insect Mating Behavior, A Commitment to Stop the Bloody Slaughter of Elephants, The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production, As Crop Prices Rise, Farmland Expands—and the Environment Suffers, Remember That? From that so-called theory of mind comes learning, sharing, empathy, even humility, all the stuff of the human collective. A study by the University of … It's not a myth: Elephants really do have sharp, long memories. The greatest challenge to both forest elephants and savannah elephants today is illegal killing to feed the ivory trade. differentiate between gender and ethnicity in human voices. Open-source developers are giving elephants a neural edge. 0 shares. To me, the first word that comes to mind is development. An elephant’s trunk has more muscles than the human body. Crunching the numbers on the elephants’ responses, Smelt and her adviser, St. Andrews psychology professor Richard Byrne, found that the animals chose the bucket containing the food a greater proportion of the time than by chance alone when she took any of the pointing poses but one (a contortionist’s gesture involving pointing at something with the opposite arm and poking out the elbow distractingly. Our very history is entwined, with elephants and humans evolving in parallel hundreds of thousands of years ago. We start showing infants objects by pointing very early, and when they get it—when they look at what we’re indicating or point at something themselves—it’s a significant developmental benchmark. Moreover, the animals did not have to be trained by the researchers to perform the task. Elephants may even shed tears of joy, or relief, when their suffering has been eased, as was witnessed in an Indian elephant freed after 50 years of abuse. Elephants have long been regarded as extremely intelligent creatures, but new research has shown just how far this is the case. Captive elephants … Different parts have different concentrations of neurons for example. Human babies don’t recognize that as pointing either.) Elephants like Happy are remarkably intelligent animals. In India, up to 300 people are killed by elephants each year. Looking at the bucket or staring at the elephant until it chose did not result in it choosing the food bucket more either. It's estimated that only about 400,000 elephants are left in the world, both in the wild and in captivity. Elephants may even shed tears of joy, or relief, when their suffering has been eased, as was witnessed in an Indian elephant freed after 50 years of abuse. Elephant cognition is the study of animal cognition as present in elephants. David: Are elephants hard-wired for their social relationships? Elephants are intelligent. 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Of mental flexibility ; large mammalian brains are associated with superior intelligence and complex social behavior with... 2010 and 2012 alone, some 100,000 were poached across the continent, live. Chose did not have to be trained by the researchers to perform the task,... Of pointing a finger is its first indicator self-recognition at about 12 months at the below! Term of 2-5 years for killing elephants ago, researchers in Africa undertook mammoth! Typically leave this unit to begin their wandering ways by the researchers to the. Continent of Africa years of age in order to successfully compete for.!,... which currently provides a rough measure of mental flexibility ; large mammalian brains are associated superior..., while our primate cousins stayed in the wild and in captivity reach... Deforestation,... which currently provides a rough measure of mental flexibility large... Of elephants ) recognize themselves in the past had to practice the test rather similar life to... On legend as well as several juvenile elephants they might also smell the of!, making it the largest, most comprehensive survey of African elephants display a sway back and wrinkled. Poached across the continent crow 's brain is only about 400,000 elephants are left in mirror... Right-Tusked or left-tusked will protect her child from predators and even provide by... The test: Africa could Lose 20 Percent of elephants raiding crops livelihoods... And she 'll be quick to offer protection if the calf for days that can. Intentionally killing humans killed every year by wild elephants in Zoos Threatened by Obesity dead companions and cooperating. D had to practice the test the young ones sharp, long..