Elephant Cognition: What We Know about What Elephants Know

Richard W. Byrne and Lucy A. Bates

in The Amboseli Elephants

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226542232
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226542263 | DOI:
Elephant Cognition: What We Know about What Elephants Know

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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Elephants have a reputation for formidable memory and intelligence, but research specifically investigating their cognitive abilities is still in a nascent stage. This chapter assesses what is currently known about the cognitive skills of elephants by reviewing evidence available from a wide range of sources: it includes observations from field studies of wild elephants and anecdotal reports gathered from the trainers of semi-captive, working elephants, in addition to the relatively few studies of elephant cognition published in scientific journals. To put this preliminary assessment into perspective, the chapter makes comparisons with primates.

Keywords: elephant cognition; cognitive ability; memory; cognitive skills; primates; working elephants

Chapter.  7464 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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