Elephants have long had a reputation for good memories. Now, according to a new study from Emory University and Think Elephants International, the giant animals are also pretty good when it comes to empathy.
The researchers observed 26 elephants held in an elephant camp in northern Thailand for over a year. They didn't go out of their way to stress out the elephants but rather waited for something stressful to naturally occur (a surprising sound, for example) and then observed what happened next.
In short, the elephants were more likely to commiserate during stressful times than during the study's control periods.
Researchers found that elephants are able to sense when other elephants are stressed and will often comfort them with physical contact or a vocal response. The physical contact sometimes involves a "trunk touch," which puts the creature in a vulnerable position.
Lead researcher Joshua Plotnik of Emory University told Discovery News that the physical gestures "may be sendingRead More »from Just like us? Elephants comfort each other when they're stressed out