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Elephants Show Human Level Self-Awreness

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posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 06:29 PM
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Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining only
humans, apes and dolphins as animals that possess this kind of
self-awareness, researchers now report.

"This would seem to be a trait common to and independently
evolved by animals with large, complex brains, complex social
lives and known capacities for empathy and altruism, even
though the animals all have very different kinds of brains,"
researcher Diana Reiss, a senior cognitive research scientist at
the Wildlife Conservation Society in Brooklyn, N.Y., told
LiveScience.

"We used a mirror made of plastic -- if we used glass, it would
have broken very easily -- and framed it with steel and bolted it
to the wall, but we were still worried they'd bring it down," Plotnik
told LiveScience.
"Luckily that didn't happen. We never saw them attempt to rip the
mirror off.
They seemed too interested in it to do that."

As they begin to understand mirrors, animals that can recognize
their reflections try repeating actions in front of it.
The elephants, for example, waved their trunks around and moved
their heads in and out of the mirror view.

Finally, once animals recognize reflections as their own, they use
mirrors to investigate their own bodies [video].
On more than one occasion, the elephants stuck their trunks into
their mouths in front of the mirror, and Maxine used her trunk to
pull her ear slowly toward the mirror.

One elephant, named Happy, passed the final test of repeatedly
touching an X painted on her forehead [image], a place she could
not see without a mirror.
As a control, when a colorless paint was used to draw the X, Happy
didn't bother with it.
While only Happy passed this test [video], the researchers noted
that more than half of chimpanzees examined typically fail this test.


SOURCE:
LiveScience.com


This is a great discovery, this really does go to show that we
should'nt be so conceaded as to think we're either the smartest
or only sentinet species on the planet.

In my opinion Elephants, as well as Dolphins should be given
the same status as people, that is they have rights, and killing
one of them is the same as murdering a human.


Comments, Opinons?

[edit on 10/30/2006 by iori_komei]




posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 06:38 PM
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I love elephants...they're one of my favorite animals. I always thought they were really smart from what I've read. So I'm not too surprised they can recognize themselves in a mirror.

Not only should we realize that they are sentient, we should stop allowing them to be used in places like the circus too.

I went to a small traveling circus that came through our town years ago. They had about 5 elephants that did tricks in the ring and one they had that gave rides to customers.

I could just tell that the elephants were miserable when I looked into their eyes.

Whenever captive elephants go crazy and kill someone, I think they've just had it and can't take anymore of that kind of existence. Or either their trainers or whoever are abuseing them.

That's not their natural environment and should'nt be forced to live like that.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 06:51 PM
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I agree

I've seen a 4 YO elephant that could distinguish between paper money (any currency) and paper - this has always stayed with me and I consider them to be extremely intelligent animals.

Sure I read somewhere that primates are given human rights in New Zealand so some people are starting to think this way



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 06:59 PM
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I love hearing about this kind of science, as it kind of means that we are not "alone" right here on earth.

BTW, I have have to wonder if they even bothered testing any donkeys?


[edit on 10/30/2006 by centurion1211]



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 07:13 PM
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They should test cats as well as my cats always recognize me in the mirror and look around when they see me in it. I'm not sure if they are self aware, but they do know the function of a mirror, it's a way to see behind them with little to no effort at all


I wonder what would happen if we were to give these creatures to ability of human speech? It would be a very interesting experiment and would prove to all the doubters that "we are not alone." Some may react badly to this though.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 07:21 PM
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Funny, but I was going to mention a cat 'trick' where I stand behind my cat as it watches me in the mirror. If I reach out to try and touch the cat, it always turns around and looks at me directly. That tells me the cat has the mirror thing all figured out. Might not understand how it works, of course, but knows what's going on.


Yes, and no doubt the ones reacting badly to the news of animal intelligence would be 1) the hard core believers of all religions, 2) the people that like to experiment on them and 3) the people that would have to pay more in their businesses to avoid harming the intelligent creatures.


[edit on 10/30/2006 by centurion1211]



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by centurion1211
Funny, but I was going to mention a cat 'trick' where I stand behind my cat as it watches me in the mirror. If I reach out to try and touch the cat, it always turns around and looks at me directly. That tells me the cat has the mirror thing all figured out. Might not understand how it works, of course, but knows what's going on.


I don't think the point of the mirror test was if they can figure out how the mirror works, but if they have a sense of self and are currious about themselves recognizing who they are and when something is out of place.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 07:31 PM
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Originally posted by JackJuice

Originally posted by centurion1211
Funny, but I was going to mention a cat 'trick' where I stand behind my cat as it watches me in the mirror. If I reach out to try and touch the cat, it always turns around and looks at me directly. That tells me the cat has the mirror thing all figured out. Might not understand how it works, of course, but knows what's going on.


I don't think the point of the mirror test was if they can figure out how the mirror works, but if they have a sense of self and are currious about themselves recognizing who they are and when something is out of place.


Yes I was about to say the same thing, though the "Cat" test does prove that they do have a higher level intellect. Most other creatures cannot fathom what a Window is let alone a mirror. Things like Birds, Insects, and certain reptiles just don't have it. I think that the "Sense of self" is a direct consequence of large and dense Mammalian brains.

Centurian, If you like this, you'll love the link below.

Pit Vipers found to have Heat Seeking Fangs



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 09:41 PM
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That was cool.

Thanks for forwarding that thread.



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by elaine

I could just tell that the elephants were miserable when I looked into their eyes.

Whenever captive elephants go crazy and kill someone, I think they've just had it and can't take anymore of that kind of existence. Or either their trainers or whoever are abuseing them.


Ok, this is the kind of thing I love.

How can you make the leap from "elephant recognizes self in mirror" to giving them human level emotions and motivations?

I'll agree that seeing circus animals is sometimes very sad......... but that's our human reaction. But how can you tell what the animal thinks? That's real arrogance if you ask me. We should take the science for what it is and further it. Assuming we can read their emotions is faulty.

All species are unique, with their own special abilities. I'm not sure we should be projecting ours on other species. That may lead us to a totally different form of exploitation or abuse.

I'll give an example................

I saw a special on TV about how chimpanzee's are being taught to comunicate emotion via a laptop computer. While this is fascinating and makes the heart all warm and fuzzy........ Is it appropriate? Who benefits from this? Us or the chimps? Seems to me that the chimps were fine before being forced to sit in front of laptops in exchange for candy. Just because the chimps have the ability doesn't mean we ought to exploit it, in my opinion any way.



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 05:11 PM
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I saw a special on TV about how chimpanzee's are being taught to comunicate emotion via a laptop computer. While this is fascinating and makes the heart all warm and fuzzy........ Is it appropriate? Who benefits from this? Us or the chimps? Seems to me that the chimps were fine before being forced to sit in front of laptops in exchange for candy. Just because the chimps have the ability doesn't mean we ought to exploit it, in my opinion any way.


They can also teach Chimps and Gorillas language, albeit either sign language or via a computer with symbols (then again, no different that writing). these then have shown they can go on and teach other primates the language as well. This alone proves an understanding and high level of intelect. You can actually have a good conversation with these animals. They tell you what they want, how they feel, or they even ask questions to you. Some scientists put Primate intelligence on par with a young human, say 3-5 years old. Not bad, when you consider it.



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by stumason



I saw a special on TV about how chimpanzee's are being taught to comunicate emotion via a laptop computer. While this is fascinating and makes the heart all warm and fuzzy........ Is it appropriate? Who benefits from this? Us or the chimps? Seems to me that the chimps were fine before being forced to sit in front of laptops in exchange for candy. Just because the chimps have the ability doesn't mean we ought to exploit it, in my opinion any way.


They can also teach Chimps and Gorillas language, albeit either sign language or via a computer with symbols (then again, no different that writing). these then have shown they can go on and teach other primates the language as well. This alone proves an understanding and high level of intelect. You can actually have a good conversation with these animals. They tell you what they want, how they feel, or they even ask questions to you. Some scientists put Primate intelligence on par with a young human, say 3-5 years old. Not bad, when you consider it.


Yeah neat stuff........... But why do we need to do it? Who benefits the most? I'm sure it has some great scientific reward, I just wonder if it's going to lead to a totally different exploitation of the animals.

On a lighter note......... I get frustrated talking to alot of other humans, I can't imagine what will happen when someone figures out chimps are qualified to work the help desk at my company's tech support center!!!!


I wonder if the chimp Michael Jackson used to own can communicate...... I'm sure it had some wild stories to tell!!!



[edit on 11/3/2006 by looking4truth]



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 05:32 PM
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On a lighter note......... I get frustrated talking to alot of other humans, I can't imagine what will happen when someone figures out chimps are qualified to work the help desk at my company's tech support center!!!!


Instead of India oursourcing, they'll have these guys doing it! Even cheaper, they'd only need a fruit basket as pay!



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 06:31 PM
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Originally posted by stumason



On a lighter note......... I get frustrated talking to alot of other humans, I can't imagine what will happen when someone figures out chimps are qualified to work the help desk at my company's tech support center!!!!


Instead of India oursourcing, they'll have these guys doing it! Even cheaper, they'd only need a fruit basket as pay!


Brings a whole new meaning to the expression "pay peanuts, get monkeys"



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 09:55 PM
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I've felt for a long time now that anamals are far more self-aware and intelligent then we've given them credit for. Some people believe that they have no souls but what is the definition of a soul? If having a soul mean grieving when a family member dies or risking your life for one that you love then anamals do indeed have souls and are self-aware. Elephants grieve over the death of a loved one and there are many many cases of anamals risking their lives for people and indeed their own young.

This is a wonderful article. Thanks for sharing; elephants are awesome.



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 11:03 PM
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I'll agree that seeing circus animals is sometimes very sad......... but that's our human reaction. But how can you tell what the animal thinks? That's real arrogance if you ask me. We should take the science for what it is and further it. Assuming we can read their emotions is faulty.


No it isn't. Our emotion centers are pretty much identical to many of those found in the basic Mammalian brain, so we can sort of put ourselves in their hooves so to speak. You can tell, especially with felines, that they absolutely hate captivity. It's the dullness in their eyes, the amount of body fat, and the lethargy of their gait that gives it away. Depression looks eerily similar in quite a few creatures from both a posture perspective and neurological perspective. I'll try to find the article about the interspecies brain scan comparisons though it's quite old so no promises. You could try looking on google scholar too.

I would agree with you if the comparison was being made between say a Reptile and a Human. I don't even think Reptiles feel emotions or pain in the same way we do, they are creatures of pure stimulus and instinct.

[edit on 3-11-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 12:42 AM
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"Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining only
humans, apes and dolphins as animals that possess this kind of
self-awareness, researchers now report...."

Those 'researchers' aren't very smart. Any pet owner will attest most dogs and cats have the same self awareness when looking in mirrors.

Just more of the same old junk pseudoscience by some grant-hungry publicity seekers.



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 01:00 AM
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My cat won't pay any attention to herself in a mirror. She eats, sleeps and pesters the hamster. That is what she does and all she does.

Apart from the occasional psychopathic attack if dinner isn't as forthcoming as she would like..


Bless her...



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 01:06 AM
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Originally posted by stumason
My cat won't pay any attention to herself in a mirror. She eats, sleeps and pesters the hamster. That is what she does and all she does.

Apart from the occasional psychopathic attack if dinner isn't as forthcoming as she would like..


Bless her...


Neither will mine, it still does understand that what it's seeing is a projection of what is behind it if it's facing directly towards it. Not sure whether she's got angles down, I'll try that out later.



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 01:21 AM
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Originally posted by looking4truth

Originally posted by elaine

I could just tell that the elephants were miserable when I looked into their eyes.

Whenever captive elephants go crazy and kill someone, I think they've just had it and can't take anymore of that kind of existence. Or either their trainers or whoever are abuseing them.


Ok, this is the kind of thing I love.

How can you make the leap from "elephant recognizes self in mirror" to giving them human level emotions and motivations?



Okay, this is the thing I hate. People who don't realize that alot of animals do have some of the same emotions as we do. Maybe not as complicated but basically the same.
If you ask me, that's the "height of arrogance."




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