Young elephant struck by idea

Insightful 7-year-old moves cube to snag fruity treat

By Susan Milius, 17:44 PM August 24, 2011

Elephants may not be such dumbos after all when it comes to solving problems by sudden insight.

A 7-year-old Asian elephant apparently had just such an “aha!” moment when he moved a cube to use as a step stool to reach dangling fruit, scientists report online August 18 in PLoS ONE.

Although it’s impossible to know what’s in an animal’s mind, this episode is the first demonstration of insightful problem solving in an elephant, proposes comparative psychologist and study coauthor Preston Fo...

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