Mirrors are one of the most incredible inventions that humans have brought to this world. Being aware of one’s own appearance is something that didn’t really exist in the world before mirrors, and the video below shows the experiment that a French photographer made, trying to showcase this exact experience.
Xavier Hubert-Brierre is the man behind this experiment. To test how animals react to seeing their own image for the first time, he decided to photograph their very first reactions as they come across their reflections in a rainforest of Gabon. The results that he found are nothing short of interesting, and they give a very thoughtful message to us.
In the following clip, you’ll see how many different animals react to and interact with a mirror, and it’s fascinating. You will see leopards, silverback gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, and birds – all displaying a sense of confusion at the creatures standing before them.
The most telling takeaway in this clip is, in my opinion, the reactions of the chimpanzees. They truly seem to be the only animals that figured out what was going on, even if they didn’t understand it. There is one moment when a chimp scratches his elbow; he watches his reflection do the same, and you can almost see the understanding in his face. Then the behavior of the others with him implies that they start to understand as well.
It is fascinating to observe the varied reactions from different species. The cats who stalked, the gorilla who body-slammed, the elephant who looked sad he couldn’t communicate with his new-found friend – all stopped in awe and gave us a glimpse into the nature of the behavior of these creatures.