For example, scientists believe elephants use their good memories to recognize others, and remember who is a friend and who is an enemy. This helps them avoid contact with predators and anyone who is threatening.
Another thing elephants have been shown to use their good memories to do is remember locations where they can find food and water. In a herd of elephants, the oldest female leads the group and scientists believe she uses her amazing memory to recall places from her past where she knows they can find food and water!
Further informationIn addition to recognizing predators and remembering where to find food, elephants have also been observed using their memories to remember their loved ones who have passed away. When an elephant returns to a spot where another loved elephant from their herd has passed away, the elephants will stop and observe a quiet moment for the memory.
ExplorationDo you remember…?
Do you have a really good memory? Try to think of a few things such as what you ate for dinner every day last week, what color socks you wore yesterday, and what day of the week your birthday was on last year. Is it easy or hard for you to remember these things??
Why do you think it has helped elephants to have such good memories? What are some things other animals do that help them in the same way that elephants are helped by their memories??
Sources & links
“What is the depth of elephant emotions?” Nature. Thirteen WNET New York ”“ Public Broadcasting Service. 30 Dec. 2010 Wildlife Conservation Society. "Elephant Memories May Hold Key To Survival." ScienceDaily. 12 August 2008. 30 December 2010 “Why elephants don’t forget.” Sci/Tech. 19 Apr. 2001. BBC News. 30 Dec. 2010 Patterson, Lindsay. “Stephen Blake, ecologist, on the powerful memories of elephants.” Biodiversity. 17 May 2009. EarthSky. 30 Dec. 2010