Wild Animals Have Amusing Reactions To Seeing Themselves In A Mirror

Jun 5, 2015 By Archit Tripathi
French photographer Xavier Hubert Brierre traveled to Gabon with his wife recently and set up a giant mirror in the jungle to see how animals react to it. He also set up some motion-sensitive camera traps, and then he went and hid in the brush and waited. The result was this delightful compilation of a variety of animals, like chimpanzees, gorillas, leopards and more, reacting to their own reflections.

The "Mirror Test" is actually a fairly well-established test of animal self-awareness, developed by American psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. in the 1970s. He would place non-toxic marking on an unconscious animal and see if it recognized the change to its appearance in a mirror upon waking. Humans pass the mirror test at around 18 months. Some apes and dolphins have shown mixed positive results with the mirror test, while the Eurasian magpie is the only one to definitively pass. There is evidence that other members of the crow family may also possess self-awareness.
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