Animals In Mirrors

Animal researcher, Xavier Hubert Brierre, constructed some mirrors in the Gabon to examine animals in mirrors.


The variety of animals appear fascinated by the movement with some actually attacking their own image. Some can’t cope with the scenario and some are plainly confused, as a bird demonstrates by attempting to fly through the glass. But some appear to like their self image in sit there admiring how handsome/beautiful they are.

animals in mirrors

History of these tests

The idea for doing mirror tests of animals sprang from an anecdote from Charles Darwin and a captive orangutan. Darwin was at London Zoo in 1838 when he observed the animal called Jenny, having a tantrum after being played with by her keeper. As Darwin observed Jenny being teased with the keeper’s apple, he also watched the orangutan gaze into the mirror and wrote about the chance that it had recognized itself.

The test was first set up by a physiologist called Gordon Gallup Junior in the 1970s to formally assess what Darwin had an inkling for – animal self recognition.