Brainy Elephant Thinks Out Of The Box To Reach Tasty Fruit By Theresa.J
This baby elephant had to really think out of the box when it came to reaching for a tasty treat.
Kandula was a little confused when he realized that a tempting berry branch in his enclosure was already out of his reach.
But the clever Asian elephant quickly stumbled upon a creative solution – rolling a box he discovered in the corner over the tree which he usually stands on and grabs the fruit.
Innovative elephant: Kandula used a box in the corner of his enclosure to stand on to pick berries
His eureka moment at the Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington, was discovered during a study by researchers from the City of New York University and the Smithsonian Institute researchers.
Trial co-author Diana Reiss said that for several study sessions, seven-year-old Kandula just stared at the hanging fruit and ignored the nearby box.
Rolling: Kandula used his trunk to move the box from the corner of his enclosure to beneath the berry-bearing tree
Researchers said the apparent flash of insight was the first evidence that elephants can run problem-solving scenarios in their heads
Rolled: Kandula earned his tasty treat after using thinking out of the box to reach the branch
She said: ‘He didn’t try to use a tool to reach food for seven, 20 minutes on seven different days.
‘And then he finally got what looked like this unexpected revelation, and he went right over to the block, pushed it in a straight line just below the fruit, and stepped right on top of it and got the food in one quick movement.
‘We can’t get inside their heads, but the fact that he immediately went over to the block suggests that he was imagining the process ahead of time.’
She added that his clear insight is the first proof that pachyderms can run problem-solving situations in their heads.