Coming in over Facebook, I watched this amazing video of a human/elephant performance team led by Rene Casselly, from Germany. It is amazing not just in the tricks themselves, but the fact that the connection of inter-species sentience to create coordinated, goal-based heuristic behavior is stunning.
Some might say the elephants are trained through conditioning, but I’d argue that this isn’t the case. I’ll bet the elephants view the watermelons as salaries, just like humans. And the fact that the elephants can pursue a shared goal, complete with algorithmic motions, indicate a much higher level of group cognition between the humans and the elephants.
To finish the video, there’s also a little direct empathetic mirroring. Also fascinating. Highly recommended! Sentience is sentience is sentience, folks.