A 34-year-old female Asian elephant in the Bronx Zoo named Happy showed researchers that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, which is complex behavior that has only been seen in only a few other species.
In a 2005 experiment, Happy faced her reflection in an mirror and repeatedly used her trunk to touch an "X" painted above her eye.
The elephant could not have seen the mark except in her reflection.
"It seems to verify for us she definitely recognized herself in the mirror," said Joshua Plotnik, one of the researchers behind the study.
Still, two other zoo elephants, Maxine and Patty, failed to touch "X" mark on their heads in two runs of the experiment. But all three adult female elephants at the zoo behaved in ways that suggested they recognized themselves while in front of the jumbo mirror.
Maxine, for instance, used the tip of her trunk to touch the inside of her mouth while facing the mirror. She also used her trunk to slowly pull one ear toward the mirror. The researchers reported not seeing that type of behavior at any other time.
Gordon Gallup, the psychologist who came up with the mark test in 1970 for use on chimps, called the results "very strong and very compelling." But he said additional studies were needed.
"They really need to be replicated in order to be able to say with any assurance that dolphins and elephants indeed as species are capable of recognizing themselves. Replication is the cornerstone of science," said Gallup. (AP)
1. complex adj.
複雜的 (fu4 za2 de5)
例: This math problem is very complex.
2. reflection n.
映象 (ying4 xiang4)
例: You can see your reflection in mirrors, water, and other shiny surfaces.
3. compelling v.i. /v.t.
強迫的 (qiang2 po4 de5)
例: I like to read mysteries because they are compelling.
4. replicate v.t.
複製 (fu4 zhi4)
例: Faberge's famous eggs have been replicated countless times.