Elephants Use Their Trunks to Ace Intelligence Tests
Smells, and not sounds, seem to be the key to pachyderm cognition.
Say it ain't so, Dumbo. Elephants rely on their trunks and not those big ol' ears to find their way to food and likely to solve other puzzles, report scientists. (See: "Elephants at Risk.")
"This is one of the first times, to our knowledge, that elephants were shown to use olfaction [smell] in a basic intelligence test," said Joshua Plotnik, an animal behavior scientist from the University of Cambridge, U.K., who led the study, recently published in the journal Animal Behavior.
The results of the study offer insights into how elephants think and could be used to figure out ways they might be dissuaded from raiding farmers' food, suggest the study authors. The authors also suggest that scientists