Surprise: Elephants Comfort Upset Friends

Asian elephants (pictured) caress each other when stressed. (Photograph by ZSSD, Minden Pictures/Corbis)

The short list of animals that console stressed-out friends just got longer … and heavier.

Asian elephants, like great apes, dogs, certain corvids (the bird group that includes ravens), and us, have now been shown to recognize when a herd mate is upset and to offer gentle caresses and chirps of sympathy, according to a study published February 18 in the online journal PeerJ.

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Meet the Author
Degrees in English and Conservation Biology Contributing Writer, National Geographic magazine Regular Contributor, NG News Author of bestselling books Unlikely Friendships (2011) and Unlikely Loves (2013)