"Strange thoughts brew in your heart when you spend too much time with old books." (Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger)

Friday, October 19, 2007

ahhh the importance of clothes

Elephants associated the colour red with the Maasai

Elephants can tell whether a human is a friend or foe by their scent and colour of clothing, according to Fife experts.

St Andrews University researchers found that elephants could recognise the degree of danger posed by different groups of individuals.

The study found African elephants reacted with fear when they detected the scent of garments previously worn by men of the Maasai tribe.

Maasai men are known to demonstrate their virility by spearing elephants.

Level of risk

The elephants also responded aggressively to red clothing, which is characteristic of traditional Maasai dress.

However, the elephants showed much milder reaction to clothing previously worn by the Kamba people, agriculturalists who pose little threat.

The psychologists said they had expected to find elephants might be able to distinguish among different human groups according to the level of risk they posed.

They said: "We were not disappointed. In fact, we think that this is the first time that it has been experimentally shown that any animal can categorise a single species of potential predator into subclasses based on such subtle cues."

1 comment:

Aluwings said...

While the Six Flags Discovery park (near San Francisco) seems to take very good care of their animals, I still find it heartbreakingly sad to watch a magnificent creature like an elephant doing "circus tricks" for a living. Standing on one foot on a podium... Sitting and holding up it's front feet... it's demeaning to God's amazing work somehow, and the dignity inherent in such a being ... sigh.


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