In honor of World Elephant Day on August 12, we present you with 12 little-known facts about one of our favorite creatures … in GIFs, of course.
1. Elephants know every member of their herd and are able to recognize up to 30 companions by sight or smell.
2. They can remember and distinguish particular cues that signal danger and can recall locations long after their last visit.
3. An elephant’s memory is not limited to its herd, nor is it limited to its species. In one instance, two circus elephants that performed together rejoiced when crossing paths 23 years later. Elephants have also recognized humans that they once bonded with after decades apart.
4. The elephant boasts the largest brain of any land mammal as well as an impressive encephalization quotient (the size of the animal’s brain relative to its body size). The elephant’s EQ is nearly as high as a chimpanzee’s.
5. The elephant brain is remarkably similar to the human brain, with as many neurons and synapses, as well as a highly developed hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
6. Elephants are one of the few non-human animals to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
7. The elephant’s large cerebral cortex allows them to be great problem solvers, which elephants display in many creative ways.
8. Don’t try to outsmart an elephant! They have an understanding of basic arithmetic and can even keep track of relative quantities.
10. Elephants can recognize 12 distinct tones of music and recreate melodies.
Given what we now know about elephants, and what they continue to teach us about animal intelligence, it is more important than ever to make sure that these magnificent creatures do not vanish.