There is a ubiquitous belief that "elephants never forget".

I know we aren't suggesting that elephants have unlimited memory, but have there ever been any scientific studies/case studies that suggest that elephants have a profound ability to remember places, people, smells, faces, sounds etc?

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1 Answer 1


Yes, there have been such studies.

They used a 7-8 month break and found:

Mean choice accuracy before the break (7.40) was not significantly different from that after the break (7.36).

It was just 5 elephants (though that small a difference probably wouldn't have been significant in a larger sample either), maybe someone else finds something with a larger sample. It would also be interesting to see this in comparison with humans and other animals, but of course it's not so easy to just use the same paradigm across species.

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