Humans can recognize themselves in the mirror, but most animals can't, why is this?

2020-01-11 | Animal Expo original |

People can identify themselves in the mirror. Simply put, this is because the human brain is developed and much smarter than other animals. The ability to identify yourself in the mirror is called "visual self-cognition ability" by scientists,This requires three-way integration of yourself, your actions, and the picture you see in the mirror, so it is not easy. Scientific experiments have shown that only a few very smart animals can look in the mirror, while human babies are older than 18 months.Gain this ability.

Mirror test

To measure whether an animal has visual self-awareness, animal psychologist Gordon Gallup designed a "mirror test" in 1970. Researchers first anesthetize the animals and then place them where they are normally invisibleUse red paint to make a mark, and when the animal wakes up, put a mirror in front of it. If the animal makes a touch and checks the mark point after looking in the mirror, it is considered to pass the test.

Experiments found that most animals responded to themselves in the mirror as another animal, such as showing hostility or even aggressive behavior. However, only a few animals can realize that they are in the mirror and have completedTouch action.

In addition to humans, 7 species have passed the test. Three of them are the closest relatives of humans: chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans. The tests on chimpanzees are the most complete and have been repeated many times by many scholars.The most representative. The chimpanzee in the experiment touched the red dot on his brain immediately after looking in the mirror, and sniffed his fingertips with his nose to confirm that it was not blood stains. As a whole, the chimpanzee's test pass rate was 75.%, Young adult chimpanzees basically look in the mirror, but many young and old chimps do not.

Three toothed whales passed the test. They are killer whales, pseudokiller whales, and bottlenose dolphins. They are indeed the smartest animals in the ocean. In addition, the researchers also tested three female Asian elephants. OneSuccessfully passed the test.

These animals visually recognize themselves in two phases. The first is the discovery phase. The animal repeatedly performs strange actions to confirm that the actions in the mirror are synchronized with itself. Then the exploration phase, when the animal consciousnessWhen you are in the mirror, you try to adjust your body. You want to use the mirror to see the parts you usually can't see. For example, bottlenose dolphins repeatedly look at the mirror from different angles, while the elephant puts its tongue against the mirror and checks itself.Mouth.

Since human self-cognition originates in the cerebral cortex, many scholars have long believed that non-mammals cannot have visual self-cognition ability without the cerebral cortex. However, the European magpie has passed the mirror test and has passedTrained pigeons can do the same.

More unexpectedly, there is a fish called cleaner wrasse, and three kinds of ants also have visual self-awareness. It seems that looking in the mirror is by no means a mammal's patent. Some birds, fish and evenAlthough ants do not have a cerebral cortex, they also develop self-awareness through their central nervous system, which is a convergence evolution phenomenon.

Scientists have also tested other recognized smart animals, including gorillas, gibbon, baboons, various monkeys, sea lions, giant pandas, domestic cats and domestic dogs in mammals, parrots and crows in birds., And the most intelligent invertebrate octopus, they have all failed. Here we have to remind everyone that shit shovels, pet cats and dogs will not look in the mirror, they can see things in the mirror, but can notRealizing it's yourself, I just think it's another cat or dog.

Limitations and applications

In recent years, the mirror test has also been widely criticized. Some scholars have pointed out that the test is of limited value to animals that do not mainly use vision. For example, cats and dogs are mainly olfactory and hearing, and vision is relatively less important. They are undoubtedlyHas self-awareness, but recognizes his own odor, not his own image. On the contrary, primates rely more on vision, and it is easier to recognize themselves in the mirror.

Untrained animals will subconsciously feel that they are not themselves in the mirror. However, some animals will soon respond strongly, which will prevent animals from thinking calmly. In the world of gorillas, baboons and various monkeysDirectly looking at each other for a long time is a sign of aggression, which may be why they failed the test. Especially gorillas, the relationship between gorillas and humans is closer than that of orangutans. Orangutans can pass the test. GorillaIt should be better, but the test result was that all four gorillas failed because they could not look straight into the mirror for a long time.

Some animals did not make a touch action, probably because they were not interested in marking. For example, the gibbon didn't care about its own hair. Although it is very smart, even if it can recognize itself in the mirror, it may not touch it.mark.

Mirror tests have confirmed that most animals ca n’t recognize themselves in the mirror, and only treat them as similar. Scientists use this principle to enhance the “quantity of security?” For some animals. For example, flamingos can only be used when the population reaches a certain number.Only then do they start breeding, and people put a few mirrors to induce mating and nesting of flamingos. It has also been found that placing a mirror in the stable at the right angle can alleviate horse anxiety.

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