Elephant Alphabet – I is for Intelligence

August 22, 2011

Elephant's mental map

Elephant's mental map

Of the land mammals, elephants have the largest brain relative to body size. The neocortex of elephants is large and highly convoluted (folded), signifying complex intelligence. The hippocampus of an elephant is comparatively larger than that of humans, primates, or caetaceans. This is the area of the brain associated with emotion and spatial memory. Elephants have a complex social structure and communicate a wide range of emotions, such as joy, humor, compassion, grief, stress, and anger. In Africa certain migratory routes are believed to have been used for centuries.

A minority of elephants (usually individuals) exhibit streaking behavior (not that kind of streaking). In order to pass between safe areas spread far apart, the elephant will run at night at top speed to its destination, over multiple days. For example, one elephant traveled 25 miles and 6,500 ft. up a mountain in 15 hours.

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