As humans, seeing ourselves in the mirror is a common, everyday thing. Looking at our reflection does not make us think that there might be something deeper than just our face and body. Humans as higher form of life are easily self-aware, but can animals as well recognize themselves in the mirror? To get the answers, groups of scientists are regularly conducting the Animals in Mirrors test which is a good indicator for self awareness!
Most common opinion is that higher primates are the ones that can, but, research show that monkeys are not able to recognize themselves, while chimps can. For a long time gorillas failed the mirror test but recently they have been passing, only because they were living in enriched human surrounding. Psychologist Gordon Gallup said that, for someone to be able to recognize himself in the mirror takes higher intelligence. Gallup’s test of mirror is one of the most famous and controversial animal intelligence test.
The test has been applied to many species of animals. Animals are being familiar with a mirror and put to sleep. While asleep they are being applied with a red dot on their face. Once woken if the animal notices the red spot on their face it indicates that it is aware of its mental representation, of its own body.
Animals in Mirrors – Fails & Wins!
An elephant named Happy passed the Animals in Mirrors test successfully but two of his friends didn’t, killer orcas and dolphins allegedly passed, not clear with their tossing and turning, dogs failed, pandas failed; they would play with what seems the stranger on the other side, but they did not recognize themselves.
Vast majority of birds have failed this test, such as the omnipresent pigeon and the incredibly talkative African parrot. Surprisingly two European magpies passed the test! This was the first time that a non-mammal animal passed and ever since then they are called the feathered apes.
There are some tests made using mirrors in the wild, recording wild cats and apes and some elephants. As seen before they do not recognize themselves. However, they are amazed by the strangers that they see on the other side and by the exact same things these strangers do!