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Elephants’ Incredible Intelligence

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Elephants are not only the planet’s largest land mammals, but their land mammal brains are also the largest. “Three times larger than ours and weighing a whopping five kilograms,” Maddie Moate explains, “they’re made up of around 300 billion neurons.”

“That’s three times more than humans. Do these huge brains translate to a heightened intelligence? What emotions to elephants feel and why is the herd so important to their survival?”

Learn about the incredible sensitivity, care, and intelligence that elephants share within their close-knit communities. This episode of BBC Earth’s Wild Files with Maddie Moate spends a few minutes looking at elephants’ matriarch-led social structures, what they teach their young, and surprisingly, how the animals seem to be evolving to have smaller tusks.

elephant cuddles
elephant herd
More from Elephant Voices:

Elephants are well-known for their intelligence, close family ties and social complexity, and they remember for years other individuals and places. They live in a fluid fission-fusion society with relationships radiating out from the mother-offspring bond through families, bond groups, clans, independent males and beyond to strangers…

No individual or individual personality has more impact on family structure and fortunes than the matriarch, or female leader, of an elephant family. Matriarchs are generally the oldest and largest adult female member of a family. In some cases it is very obvious who the leader of a family is – she is the individual to whom others orient, whose sudden change in activity they note, and whose leadership they turn to in a moment of crisis… Matriarchs express their dominance in both competitive and cooperative situations.

elephant dusk
Watch these elephant videos next: How Elephants Listen … With Their Feet, Elephant Calf River Rescue, and a daddy Asian Elephant that cuddles his calf.

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