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dc.contributor.authorSmet, Ann Farai
dc.contributor.authorByrne, Richard William
dc.date.accessioned2021-08-16T23:42:04Z
dc.date.available2021-08-16T23:42:04Z
dc.date.issued2020-08-17
dc.identifier.citationSmet , A F & Byrne , R W 2020 , ' African elephants interpret a trunk gesture as a clue to direction of interest ' , Current Biology , vol. 30 , no. 16 , pp. R926-R927 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.070en
dc.identifier.issn0960-9822
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 269685541
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: d5613f29-3df4-42c1-8e35-e5bca24936aa
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85089274221
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-9862-9373/work/79226745
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000563983200008
dc.identifier.otherPubMed: 32810448
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10023/23783
dc.descriptionThis research was carried out with funding from a departmental studentship from the School of Psychology and Neuroscience of the University of St Andrews, and a Russell Trust Postgraduate Award to A.F.S.en
dc.description.abstractOrienting to gaze-direction is widespread among animal species, but evidence for spontaneous use of gesture for direction is limited [1]. Remarkably, African elephants (Loxodonta africana) have been found able to follow human pointing, including subtle actions in which the contralateral hand is used, and in which the body silhouette is not broken [2,3]. The natural origin of this ability is puzzling, as the species is not reported to use trunk- or limb-gesture for showing directions [4]. One natural gesture, the ‘periscope-sniff’ presumed to be used to enhance olfactory sampling by an elephant in circumstances of alarm or curiosity [5], might also betray the elephant's direction of focal attention. Here we investigate what information elephants gain from seeing periscope-sniff. When one elephant in a group gave a periscope-sniff, we recorded the location and orientation of the next periscope-sniff given. Elephants that could not see the first gesturer only gestured themselves if immediately adjacent to the first or closer to the presumed stimulus of interest. In contrast, elephants able to see the first signaller's periscope-sniff were often a considerable distance behind it, further from the stimulus. Focusing on these cases, where making the periscope-sniff was apparently caused by seeing the first gesture, we found its orientation significantly matched the first, suggesting that direction information was gained from seeing the periscope-sniff. Elephants’ ability to use a conspecific's periscope-sniff as if it were an ostensive pointing gesture enables them to react to the presence and location of potential dangers. When alarmed, African elephants make a gesture, periscope-sniff, whose primary function is olfaction. Smet and Byrne show that others interpret this gesture as “functional pointing”, using it to locate the direction of another's interest. This may explain how elephants can interpret human pointing without any training, an ability rare among animals.
dc.language.isoeng
dc.relation.ispartofCurrent Biologyen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.070en
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.subjectQL Zoologyen
dc.subjectBiochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)en
dc.subjectAgricultural and Biological Sciences(all)en
dc.subjectNDASen
dc.subject.lccBFen
dc.subject.lccQLen
dc.titleAfrican elephants interpret a trunk gesture as a clue to direction of interesten
dc.typeJournal itemen
dc.description.versionPostprinten
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.identifier.doihttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.070
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden
dc.date.embargoedUntil2021-08-17


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