Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Who is the prettiest horse of them all?
Animals have a tendency to surprise us when we least expect it. Their survival intellect coupled with the adjustment of living in a human world has some strange and rather entertaining results. A recent video clip posted on social media records a beautiful horse checking herself out in front of a glass mirror. Her curiosity struck a new high when she began to start taking a closer look at nearby mirror. The reaction to her reflection is hilariously infectious and guaranteed to brighten up your day!
The horse, named Georgia, starts by keenly observing her face in the mirror. It looks as if she’s been taking notes from the villainous Queen in Snow White! As she carefully studies the mirror, we can only imagine what is thoughts are running through her mind as she looks at the glass frame multiple times.
Whatever stimulation she’s getting, she seems to be trying to dig deeper.
She initially struts away from the mirror as if disappointed from what she sees but then gives herself another chance. This time, she approaches closer with her nose sniffing out every corner of the frame. The investigation goes on for a few more seconds until the adorable horsey realizes there’s really no magic to it.
After a few more stares, Georgia is coming to grips with the reality that the mirror will neither tell her she is the fairest of them all nor give her hints of what her future is to hold. As her dreams come crashing down, Georgia begins to detach herself from the mirror in dissatisfaction. She has enough of the smokescreens and quickly turns away in dismay!
Her trainer has no choice but to let out some laughter in appreciation of the strange moment. “This is my baby, Georgia. She’s very special…just a little confused.”
Italian researchers have pondered and studied information on what horses recognize when they look into a mirror.
“Of course, horses and animals in general don’t have a need to recognize themselves in the mirror—they don’t need to shave or put on makeup,” says Paolo Baragli, DVM, PhD, of the University of Pisa, “but the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror is a building block of self-awareness. Mirror self-recognition highlights the cognitive and emotional skills that are necessary to develop complex social relationships and to engage in behaviors relying on the different levels of empathy. For this reason, comparative psychologists, primatologists and ethologists have concentrated their efforts over the past four decades on the study of mirror self- recognition in animals, in and out the primate order.”
The researchers knew that figuring this out would involve conducting tests that would acclimate four horses to a confined space that contained a mirror, which was first covered and then uncovered. Next, they conducted the mark test paradigm, which is a method used to gauge self-recognition in individual subjects such as horses.
The data proved insufficient to affirm a claim that horses recognize their own reflections. However, Baragli said that the test may reveal shortcomings in the testing methodology that was devised for primates. Baragli is optimistic that there will be more available research to shed some light on more concrete evidence. An alternate testing format seems to be his most logical explanation for a necessary shift.
We can’t officially claim that Georgia recognized herself, but we definitely enjoyed her adorable reaction! It’s pretty neat to at least witness animals behaving comically to their surroundings. Regardless of the details, it does demonstrate a strong level of intelligence that should undoubtedly be admired.
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