Elephant Memory: Myths and Truths
In addition to the popular claim about the elephant’s great memory, there is scientific evidence that supports these animals’ ability to retain memories for a long time.
It is common to say “you have an elephant’s memory” alluding to the fact that elephants seem to have a memory, unlike any other animal. However, how far does the elephant’s memory go? Is it true that he can remember everything?
The story of the elephant and the chair
There’s a story that says it’s possible to tie an adult elephant to a chair and it won’t move. Can’t an elephant move a chair? Of course, you can! So why doesn’t he? And, after all, what does this have to do with the elephant’s memory?
Young elephants, to be trained, are tied with a chain to a large anchor that is either buried in the ground or attached to a tree. Of course, this is not a pleasant position for anyone, let alone an elephant. Therefore, he will try in every way to get out of this situation.
Every time he pulls the chain, he gets hurt. However, the animal keeps repeating this process until it becomes frustrated many times. What does he do? Surrender and don’t try again. That fact remains in your memory forever. So when he’s tied up, no matter where he doesn’t try to break free anymore because he knows he can’t.
That’s why an elephant tied to a chair doesn’t move. Even if the animal is tied to a small rock, it won’t move either. After all, he remembers that having a chain tied around his leg is something he can’t change. In this case, memory ends up playing a trick on the animal.
The elephant’s memory seems infinite
They say that if we hurt an elephant, it will never forget. How true is this statement? It seems that scientists are still fascinated by the elephant’s memory, which they have not yet been able to decipher.
The size and composition of your brain are believed to be part of the answer. Elephants are capable of displaying great emotions such as joy, pain, or grief. Also, they learn new things easily. They can even imitate sounds! Scientists have come to the conclusion that such a huge accumulation of so many emotions and facts would have to do with elephant brains.
New scientific discoveries
Although for years it was believed that brain size alone influenced elephants’ intelligence and memory, that didn’t make much sense. After all, a whale’s brain size is infinitely larger and doesn’t reflect the same qualities.
So there must be something different about elephant brains. The neocortex of these animals is very complex and similar to that of humans, apes, and dolphins; a thick cortex with a high concentration of neurons. This makes a lot more sense.
In fact, the heightened development of the hippocampus directly influences the elephant’s ability to recall and express past emotions, as well as suffering from post-traumatic stress. Elephants are believed to mourn their dead and even maintain a certain amount of time to mourn, which is not the case for most species.
In fact, this act was only known in humans. However, the elephants seem to imitate us, performing a burial ceremony for the dead elephant. Furthermore, they continue to maintain respect when passing by the place where an animal was buried long ago. It’s amazing!
The elephant’s memory also allows it to learn survival actions in the early years of its life, just like humans do. Once learned, they remember these actions for the rest of their lives.
The elephant’s eternal memory
How far does the elephant’s memory go? Until the end of your life. When something happens to an elephant that gets scarred, it becomes an indelible memory. For this reason, they demonstrate negative attitudes towards the smells of clothing and utensils of a tribe that killed elephants as a symbol of virility. So remember: don’t hurt an elephant, because it will never forget.