Elephant Expressionism is Dead

Watch this amazing video of an elephant painting a portrait.


1. Is the video real?
2. If it is, is the elephant just trained to draw that specific picture?
3. If #1 is true, there's also the possibility the elephant is creating the painting freestyle.

Assuming it's just #1, someone is a final cut pro genius. Either that or someone picked up the slack for Jim Henson, and there are two dudes in there animating Mr. Snuffleupagus (yeah, I looked up the spelling for snuffy).

If it's #2, it's still pretty astounding. I'm really surprised an elephant has that kind of dexterity with his trunk; not to mention the visual acuity required to see the details of what he's painting. Whenever he starts a new line, he nails it pretty perfectly.

After watching it a few times, I'd really doubt it's #3. Something about it looks like a set of trained steps, especially since he doesn't really make any discernable mistakes. It's seems like more of a performance than an "expression" per se.

Either way, makes me wonder what the subjective reality of an elephant is like as they're part of the small collection of animals that are known to be fairly intelligent (along with apes and dolphins). Does an elephant feel the need to express himself? And if so, does "elephant holding flower" really give us much to think about?

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