Elephants, Large in Stature and Brains, Are in Danger of Extinction
I have always been intrigued by the elephant. It's shear daunting size and yet, graceful movements have always mesmerized me. I have memories of the baby elephant I was allowed to ride at a children's zoo in Chicago when I was still a youngster, about 6 or 7 I believe. I can still feel the wiry and sparse hair that covered it's head and surprised me when I touched it!
Lot's of studies have been done on these great creatures and the scientific world is in agreement on a couple of things. They are in danger of extinction and they are really, really smart! Point in case is a recent study in PNAS which definitely “shows that elephants know when they need help, and they also understand the role of a partner in cooperative tasks.” Something that we humans should probably pay a little more attention to.
he study used a contraption that involved, and I quote, “A sliding table carrying two food bowls (that) could be moved only by pulling both ends of a rope that was threaded through two pulleys. If only one end of the rope was pulled, the rope became unthreaded and the table would not move. This apparatus was placed behind a transparent barrier (a volleyball net) so that the elephants could see the set-up but couldn’t reach the food.” Kudos to the engineer that came up with this apparatus! I have visions of myself and my husband, after days of no snacking, scratching our heads and attempting to get to the food. A task which I'm sure would have resulted in an argument about who should be pulling what rope and for what reason., and....my guess.. we'd still be hungry when the time limit was reached.Continued on the next page