The popular saying “someone has a memory like an elephant” has its reasons. These animals can remember things long past, which is vital for their survival.

Old matriarchs are able to remember the location of watering holes during droughts for a long time and can lead their herd there. An elephant navigates much less through vision, like humans do, but rather with the use of ears and trunk.

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Elephant family in South Africa

This way, elephants can recognize former herd members at a distance by their tone, which facilitates encounters.

Also, they are able to identify a person by their smell for a long time and remember whether the person treated them kindly or angered them.