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RockEDU Presents: Can understanding how elephants think help us protect the...

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Carson Family Auditorium

The Rockefeller University

1230 York Ave.

New York, NY 10065

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Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, carefully consider cooperation problems, and console each other when they are distressed. But do elephants experience the world in the same way we do? They use their trunks to locate food and smell differences in food quantity, and can communicate with out of view family members over long distances using vocalizations we can not hear. The study of convergent cognitive evolution aims to investigate similar intelligence across evolutionarily distant taxa like elephants, primates and crows. However, it is important to consider the fact that these different animals all experience their worlds in different ways. Here, I'll detail my research on elephant intelligence over the past decade, and discuss how understanding the elephant's unique sensory perspective is paramount to investigating their cognition. In addition, I'll explain how we are using a better understanding of elephant behavior to mitigate the conflict between wild elephants and farmers in Thailand, and how the study of animal behavior in general has an important role to play in endangered species conservation.

Joshua Plotnik, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Comparative Cognition for Conservation Lab (www.ccconservation.org) at Hunter College, City University of New York. Additionally, he is the Founder of the non-profit, Think Elephants International, Inc. (www.thinkelephants.org).

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This event is open to all high school students in the New York City area, free of charge!

RockEDU Presents: aims to expose high school students to cutting-edge research being performed right here in New York City. Students will attend the talk and have a chance to ask questions.



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Carson Family Auditorium

The Rockefeller University

1230 York Ave.

New York, NY 10065

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