Nugget of Knowledge: Elephants

Daybreak

Over the years, we’ve watched as circuses have dropped wild animal acts. The states of Hawaii and New Jersey have banned these acts altogether, and it seemed to start with elephants.

Elephants are remarkable creatures.

They live in tight, family groups. They will help other injured animals and bring them food and water.

We have watched elephants grieve when a family member dies, and sometimes, they bury their dead or cover them with leaves. 

Yes, an elephant never forgets, or close to forever. It does have a long memory. It solves problems such as piling up blocks to reach food, and it can use branches and rocks as tools.

Elephants can also understand what pointing means. We know what it means, many dogs know as well, but strangely, the closest primate to humans — the chimpanzee — does not understand when you point to something.

Elephants do.

They can imitate the sounds of other elephants and even some human words, and they can also recognize themselves in a mirror. The only other animals that can do that are great apes, crows, some dolphins.

How do you tell an Asian elephant from an African elephant?

The African elephant’s ears are shaped like Africa.

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