Elephants understand what it means when you point at stuff

Which way?

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.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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