Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Elephants are sensitive and very social, but there is no evidence they cry

An elephant that supposedly cried tears when it was being rescued from an abusive home where it had been captive for 50 years created much excitment on social media. The experience of being cut loose from the vicious-looking spikes and heavy chains that we see in the short video clip was one of intense emotion for Raju, the elephant in the video. This is not the first time that a story of a weeping elephant has done the rounds on the internet. Animals that seem to be behaving in human-like ways certainly generate great interest.

Humans usually cry for emotional reasons: pain, fear, sadness, or loneliness. So perhaps it is natural to interpret animal tears as having an emotional reason, too. However, scientists studying the underlying cognitive processes of animal behaviour have found no evidence to suggest that elephants, or any other species for that matter, have an emotional reason for producing tears.


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