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Are elephants smarter than humans?

A new experiment from Lampang, Thailand, involving 12 elephants is proving that pachyderms not only understand logic but have at least the same cognitive abilities as chimpanzees and dolphins, according to Discovery News.

The new findings are published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and focuses on teamwork and cooperation among the elephants.

In some cases, the elephants even developed shortcuts that the scientists had not designed.

"Elephant sociality is very complex. Social groups are made up of matriarchal herds [an older female is in charge], and varying levels of relatedness among members. ...In the wild, there are fascinating anecdotes of elephants working together to lift or help fallen members, and forming clusters to protect younger elephants," Joshua Plotnik, the lead scientist and a researcher at Cambridge, told the news source.

The new research is being hailed as the first of its kind to study cooperative behavior in "this socially sophisticated species," according to Discovery.

Thai elephants are highly endangered, as their numbers have decreased by 95 percent in the last 100 years, due to habitat loss, reported National Geographic in 2002.  
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