Elephants comfort each other

Researchers, including Frans de Waal, studied Asian elephants for a  year in their native habitat and observed clearly that they respond to another’s distress through vocalizations and reaching out.


 Not a surprise, says Frans de Waal, who documents their empathy and social structure in his book Age of Empathy.  They pass the mirror test of self recognition, are excellent parents who raise their young for several years, maintain a matriarchal society, and have specialized large cells in their cortex, like humans, apes and cetaceans,  thought to play a role in self and empathy.  Good news.

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