Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Ape and Elephant Intelligence Movies
Endorsed by Sioux Falls Zoologists

Sioux Falls Zoologists recommends the following documentaries that describe the more intelligent of animals from Africa, the intelligence of the great apes (chimps, bonobos, orangutans, lowland gorillas, mountain gorillas) and elephants, and what it is about their intelligent behavior that makes them stand out. Orangutans are included because they are one of the great apes, but they are not from Africa, they live in Southeast Asia.

Sioux Falls Zoologists finds the intelligence and behavior of Elephants to be the most fascinating. Elephants live to together in family herds lead by a female, a matriarch that leads through her experience. She is literally the old wise one that knows what to do, where to find water and food, how to avoid dangers, disciplines the members of the group, she generally brings up her replacement. Elephants are self-aware, they think, they live up to 70 years. Elephants help each other, they struggle to save injured family members and morn their dead. They communicate over long distances with other herds using low frequency rumbles (infrasound) which humans cannot hear. This is a complex society with many nuances. Unfortunately the older elephants are often the ones killed for ivory, or for sport, or are culled if the herds get too large. This kills off the source of knowledge, the source of wisdom, the leadership of the family. Elephants who have lost the guidance of their matriarch, their older members, do poorly and may never recover their survival success.

The story of the elephant matriarch Echo in two of the documentaries is fascinating.

Honey Badgers are also fascinating. Their ability to get out of cages is astounding. They just figure it out. They'll stand a garden rake or tree limb up against a wall, or pile up rocks or mud, and up they go. Wire two bolt latches shut, and working as a team, two of them will unwire and unbolt the latches. Pretty smart for "dumb" animals.

The movies are all available from but you are free to obtain them from many other sources. Amazon offers them on their website along with many alternate sources, often less expensive. Many are probably also available on and elsewhere for on-line viewing. You are free to choose whatever source you please. The movie links on the following pages point to the movie location at Amazon.

The great ape, elephant and other African animal intelligence documentaries are described on the following 15 pages:

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Ape and Elephant Intelligence Movies
Endorsed by Sioux Falls Zoologists