Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/514

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ing series according to the degree of intelligence manifested by their most gifted members:

1. Bimana, higher man only, however,
2. Quadrumana, especially the larger anthropoid apes.
3. Carnivora, including especially the dog and cat.
4. Proboscidia, the elephant.
5. Ungulata, especially the horse, mule, and ass.
6. Rodentia, especially the beaver and rat.

Apparently the elephant has always been regarded as an animal of third or fourth rate intelligence, as compared with common domestic animals and the great apes. Cuvier, in his "Regne Animal," records his conviction that in sagacity the elephant in no way excels the dog, and some other species of carnivora. Sir Emerson Tennent, even after a careful study of the elephant, is disposed to award the palm for mental superiority to the dog, but he hastens to add, "not from any excess of natural capacity, but from the higher degree of development consequent on his more intimate domestication and association with man."

Surprising as these opinions may seem in the light of certain facts to be presently adduced, much more surprising is the opinion of Mr. G. P. Sanderson, who has been more intimately associated with elephants than any man living. After several years' continuous service, entirely devoted to the capture of wild herds and their management while under training in captivity, he writes as follows of the Indian elephant:

"Its reasoning faculties are undoubtedly far below those of the dog, and possibly of other animals; and in matters beyond the range of its daily experience it evinces no special discernment. While quick at comprehending anything sought to be taught to it, the elephant is decidedly wanting in originality."

An opinion from such an authority is entitled to great weight in a consideration of the entire subject, and it is possible that Sanderson's estimate of the elephant's powers of original reasoning is correct; but in the mind of the writer there is no question of the elephant's general intellectual superiority over all other animals, except higher man. More than this, I believe that the hitherto universal failure to recognize this fact has been a real loss to the student of psychology.

While the subject-matter of this article has been drawn almost wholly from observations of the Indian, or Asiatic, elephant both in a wild state and under various conditions of captivity, there is no evidence whatever to prove that, according to an idea which has quite generally prevailed, the African elephant is less intelligent and tractable than his East Indian congener. While many intelligent people have been led to believe that Africanus can not be trained to service at all, actual proof of his intellectual inferiority is wholly wanting, and there is no good reason for believing that any can be found. Whenever it