Elephants learn to work together
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Presenter: So here's the problem, the elephants need to be able to pull the table closer to gain access to the sunflower seeds, and they need the rope to do that. But if only one of them pulls the rope, the table doesn't move and they both go hungry. So can two elephants figure out they need to work together to solve a brand new problem?
[Josh speaking in Thai language]
Presenter: They don’t get it first time out, that’s for sure. But their four kilogram brains may just be at work.
Josh: The first thing I think that they learn, and there has to be some learning involved in this as this is a task they've never experienced before. Erm, the first thing is that they've learned that their partner needs to be there. And I think in some ways they’ve learned not only does their partner need to be there but their partner needs to be doing something.
Presenter: After only three attempts the smartest elephants solve the puzzle. But Josh wants to know if they understand the concept behind it. So he releases one elephant before the other to see if it'll wait for its partner. After eight years of working with elephants Josh had a hunch that was going to happen and now he’s got proof.
Josh: What you're seeing is that the elephants are thinking about co-operation. Erm, and that actually demonstrates how smart and how well-adapted these animals are.
Presenter: It's incredible to prove that animals are smart enough to co-operate.