Elephants understand what it means when you point at stuff
If you subtly point somewhere, guess who sometimes gets confused and focuses on your elbow? Dogs and chimps. Who doesn’t get confused: 2-year-olds. Aaaaand, as new research shows, elephants. According to io9:
New research now shows African elephants can do something no other wild animal has been shown to do: They can understand human pointing gestures without any kind of training.
Evolutionary psychologists Richard Byrne and Anna Smet just published their findings in Current Biology, including the following highlights:
- African elephants can use human pointing cues to find hidden food
- Success is immediate, despite few prior learning opportunities
- Pointing is followed even when human’s body position conflicts with point direction
Read the full story here.