National Feed a Rescue Pet Week

8 Animals That Demonstrate Self-Awareness. Number 7 Surprised Me!


Not many animals recognize themselves in a mirror. The ability to sense one’s self, or self-awareness, is delegated to only a few members of the animal kingdom, including human beings. The mirror test is performed when a mark or object is placed on an animal, and the animal is put before a mirror so he or she can see the mark. If the animal starts to search its body for the mark it passes the test, because it recognizes that the animal in the mirror is itself.

1. Elephants

Elephants have both passed and failed the mirror test depending on the individual, states Scientific American. Three of these animals were tested, two of which failed to explore their bodies for the mark. However, based on their movements, both of them recognized themselves in the mirror.

2. Gorillas

Gorillas are another animal that have mixed results when it comes to the mirror test. Although most fail the test, experts hypothesize that this is because making eye contact with others is a social taboo, so they never progress to actually examining themselves in the mirror.

3. Orangutans

The orangutan is another primate that demonstrates self-awareness. It was an orangutan that first spawned the mirror test idea back in 1838, according to World of Lucid Dreaming.

4. Rhesus Macaques

A rhesus monkey passed the mirror test in 2010, going so far as to adjust the mirror for better self-viewing. However, this occurred only after some special training, explains Live Science.

5. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees were the first formal recipients of the mirror test. After responding with aggression to their images, they soon started using the mirror as humans do: to inspect their own appearances.

6. Bonobos


The bonobo, a type of great ape, also passed the mirror test. Experts consider this sociable animal one of the most intelligent primates in the world. Not only are they self-aware, but they also display other human-like qualities, such as empathy and altruism.

7. European Magpies

European magpies are the only known bird to pass the mirror test and demonstrate self-awareness. These birds are highly intelligent, and scratched at the mark when placed before a mirror.

8. Bottlenose Dolphins

Land mammals are not the only members of the animal kingdom to pass the mirror test. After being marked, the dolphins quickly swam to the mirror to inspect their new marks.

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