In an apparent flash of insight, a young Asian elephant in a zoo turned a plastic cube into a stool—and a tool—a new study says.
That eureka moment is the first evidence that pachyderms can run problem-solving scenarios in their heads, then mentally map out an effective solution, and finally, put the plan into action, researchers say.
Video: Kandula the Elephant's Aha Moment
Correction to video title: Action shown is not first instance of Kandula exhibiting this behavior.
This video requires the latest version of Flash Player. Click here to download. During the study seven-year-old Kandula was eager to reach a cluster of fruit attached to a branch that was suspended from a wire, just out of reach. After some apparent thought, the young male rolled a large plastic cube under the branch and stepped up to snatch the treat with his trunk—a feat he repeated several times over multiple days with the cube and with a tractor tire.