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Why elephants are so smart?

by agustya 2 months ago in wild animals

9 cases prove they are smart

Me feeding Arjuna

Before addressing the elephant in the room let's look at some facts about elephants.

  • Global elephant population 20000 to 40000.
  • International union conservation of nature status: Asian elephants: Endangered. African elephants: vulnerable
  • So to spread awareness about the conservation and protection of elephants, August 12 is celebrated as World elephant day.

Let us decode the smartness of elephants by these cases

Case 1 :

We all know that elephants are huge, but can they pick the rice grain?

Indeed yes, they can pick up objects of all shapes and sizes. To pick lighter and smaller objects elephants shift joints to the upper trunk making the lower trunk lighter and smoother to delicately gather small particles like rice grain.

Case 2:

Can elephants remember you once you feed them?

Undoubtedly yes, the average weight of the elephant brain is 4.5-5 kg which is four times the human brain. Research proves that they have excellent cognitive abilities. They can easily remember forest routes, water holes, different plant species also they recognise their family members. The experiment was conducted by famous trials where an elephant can draw its own self-portrait.

Elephant painting self portrait : courtesy famous trials

Case 3:

Are elephants of beauty conscious?

Often elephants like taking mud baths for its skin care, though the skin is like thick old tree bark, they lack sweat glands making their skin sensitive to heat. However, the mud covers the skin protecting them from UV rays. The frequency increases as they grow older as they lose some of their pigment and skin turning to pinkish colour. They can even recognise themselves in mirror-like humans, monkeys and dolphins.

Elephants taking mud bath

Case 4:

Do elephants greet each other on meeting?

The elephant use their trunks to greet fellow elephants like we shake hands, the trunk is structured like a tongue, but elephants use them as hands but actually, it is a nose. On meeting occasions, they cross their trunks during happy occasions. In case of death the elephants mourn and put their truck in one another mouths to solace fellow elephant. The baby elephants suck their trunk as human babies do suck their thumbs to grab attention of its mother.

Elephants greeting each other

Case 5:

Why elephants are called wonderful mothers?

The elephants live in matrilineal societies the mother elephant is usually the head of the family. The mother elephant use its trunk to discipline the calf. The elephants have a very long gestation period about 18-22months for complete development of the calf in a womb preparing it to live in a harsh environment. They protect their calves by placing them at the centre of the herd. The mother elephant not only nourishes their own calves but also milk the fellow calves, isn't awful exhibiting supreme compassion.

Case 6:

Are baby elephants adopted by fellow elephants?

Yes. In case there is a death of a fellow elephant its calves are nourished by other elephants in family. Usually, elephants live in a family the size may range from 5 to 25. The orphan calves are adopted by other mother elephants by milking them. All family members take equal responsibility in defending calves in case of predator attacks.

Case 7:

Are elephants good doctors?

The elephants can self medicate by sensing different medicinal plants available in the environment. They often chew Boraginaceae leaves to cure wounds, inflammation and increase immunity. Recently Asian elephant self-medication was included as a source of ethnoveterinary knowledge among Karen mahouts a tribe in northern Thailand. Which actually made elephants qualified doctors.

Case 8:

Can elephants beat Michael Phelps in Swimming?

Though elephants carry huge body mass they are excellent swimmers they swim at a rate of 3-3.5m/s. The Olympic champion Micheal Phelps swim at a rate of 6m/s so Mr Phelps will be the winner again.

Elephants swimming


Do elephants have a high EQ (emotional quotient)?

They are emotional beings they mourn in case of death by paying their respects. They are social creatures every maternal elephant will have at least 40-50 friends in their circle. They communicate chemically and acoustically. They signal danger, console each other on sorrow, greet one another which proves to have a high EQ. EQ is one such personality that is required for huge career success, how awful isn't it, the elephants qualify this criterion but sadly they are considered for full-time employment in zoos and circuses.

The elephants are one of the big game and key-tone species protecting and conserving them is the need of the hour.

wild animals


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