It is widespread knowledge that elephants are intelligent, but it truly takes to understand these animals’ complexities. The truth is, we do not yet understand the full scope of their intellect, but what we recognize is that they are one of the most intelligent beings in the world.
Our mind has been captivated by elephants for a long time, mainly due to their sheer scale and elegance. Yet, we are also struck by their nuanced behavior.
Their history of creation is fascinating as well. It parallels humanity in a variety of aspects. Elephant kin, like ours, have been residing in Africa. Their heirs, among them the mammoths, left Africa to live on other continents. And the giant brain of any species grew in the process. It weighs approximately 5kg, even though it weighs about 1.4kg for our brains.
Elephants can recognize the language of humans
They do not get to know what people are saying, not what people are doing. Elephants also established the ability to distinguish human voices in Africa through age, sex, and even tribe. By playing recordings spoken by two African men, researchers at Sussex University in Brighton, UK, have found a way to investigate this. One emerged in the Maasai community, believed to have destroyed wild elephants, and the other came from the Kamba tribe, which did not. When the elephants noticed the Maasai men’s voice, they exhibited anxiety and adopted a defensive posture, yet they were undisturbed when they heard the Kamba tribesman’s video. More interestingly, the elephants did not react to women and children’s voices from either party, suggesting that only the Kamba men were considered a threat.
Along with other environmental disturbances and the danger of rivals and new predators, temperature increases may have played a significant role in reshaping ancient elephants’ minds. Not only can a recurrent science puzzle learn this solution. That also ensures that we can learn how to respond to human environments to the global warming crisis.
Elephants can use tools
The usage of instruments is often considered one of the most advanced abilities an animal can have. Elephants utilize a variety of approaches employed in their ecosystems. They were seen using sticks and branches as fly swatters and stacking boxes to enable them to get better access to food out of their reach. Elephants often mask the holes with chewed tree bark balls after digging the watering holes and eating their filling. It stops the evaporation of the water and protects it for future use.
Elephants show empathy to other elephants
Asian elephants, trying to console them by their sorrow or tension, can show concern to their mates. It may include brushing their trunks with light or making subtle voice sounds.
Elephants lament about other elephants dead
When an elephant dies, the herd sits with the body for hours and sometimes also attempts to bury it.
Their memory is extraordinary
“Memory of an elephant” is an idiom behind it, full of truth. These species have an exceptional memory that enables the navigation of their habitats. You can recall the roads you took from years earlier to waterfalls, which help arid climates. This recollection also extends to your relationships. Bonds they have created last their lifetime and some cases suggest that elephants recall old friends from decades earlier.
They show self awareness
The four animals we know certainly know about themselves are dolphins, apes, humans, and elephants because one of them completed the reflective test.
Elephants can self medicate
The scholar H. T. Dublin spent a year researching the elephant culture. She started on their usual meal, and on the roads, they took to find food. One day, a female elephant took off on its own. Strong breastfeeding, she traveled for miles until she spotted a tree that no elephant had ever eaten in Dublin before. Until nothing was left but a stub, the elephant chipped the tree and went back to its regular feeding pattern the next day. The elephant was born a healthy calf four days later.
The action was extraordinary, Dublin thought, but it did not dwell too long on it. The fact that there were four days between the elephant eating the tree and delivering the calf, even though the elephant’s pregnancy lasted around 22 months, made the connection between them seem small.
Still, when Dublin asked about the herb, she found that Kenyan women mostly used it to carry on labor or induce abortion. The plant, Boraginaceae, is a descendant of borage, which people near the Mediterranean mostly used to induce labor.
Humans use the weed or its similar relatives to function in many regions of the world. This sighting indicates that elephants might do it for much the same purpose.
The question is how they will receive their veterinary skills if the elephants require them. Elephants are a matriarchy society in which older people teach younger women how to labor, how to find food, and where to find water. Medical knowledge may also be passed from older to younger generations. The action may be instinctive, too. When an elephant is late at birth, when they’re starving, they might like a plant the way humans like calorie-rich food or vitamin-rich food.
Elephants’ body and their brain
The fact that the elephants were too large benefited the elephants. Being huge opens a whole different range of benefits: it dissipates insects, and an overall body can store both fat and water, while nutrient supplies and water are limited, and a wider stomach can absorb food more effectively.
Many people find that head size co-evolved equally with body size in the elephantine lineage. It implies that the development of a massive body is not entirely independent of a broad brain. The elephant’s vast brain could have expanded, not just for more versatility in behavior but also hand in hand with its enormous body. It is a cautionary tale of understanding brain size only in conjectural needs for more relevant knowledge.
Put, as it is revealed that the brain size of a specific lineage has risen, people start rushing to the conclusion that this is because the line must be smarter to live. While we cannot ignore the reality that brain size is linked to several other aspects, one illustration is the body scale. There is another gestational length (more time in the womb equals a bigger brain) (more time in the womb equals a bigger brain).
Elephants are intellectually complex, highly smart, and extremely wise. We would all live in a far better world if people teach them half as much care as they show us.