Ancient and Medieval Animals and Self-recognition: Observations from Early European Sources

Early Science and Medicine 24 (2):117-141 (2019)

This article presents the oldest European accounts that describe the reactions of animals to their own reflections on the surface of a body of water or in a mirror. The analysed sources will encompass Greco-Roman accounts, including the reception of these accounts in the Middle Ages. While this article belongs to the field of the history of science, it seeks to provide a historical commentary with insights from contemporary studies. The article presents surviving ancient and medieval accounts about particular animal species that describe their ability or inability to recognise a mirror reflection. The species discussed are the horse, mule, dog, birds, the monkey and tiger. Brief mention is also made of the sheep, pigeon, goose, parrot, raven and cat.
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DOI 10.1163/15733823-00242p01
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