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Zoo Experiment Sheds New Light on Animal Intelligence

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Daily exercises keep elephants’ limbs loose and their minds sharp.
Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Daily exercises keep elephants’ limbs loose and their minds sharp.

The National Zoo's Don Moore says people often have the wrong idea about elephants. They’re a lot smarter than we think.

"People were thinking, I think, that elephants are clumsy," Moore says. "And because they're clumsy and big, they're kind of stupid. It's kind of the arch-typical dumb jock."

But Moore says elephants are actually very smart. In fact, in a new study, one of the zoo's Asian elephants used problem solving skills and tools to reach food suspended high in the air. Only dolphins and chimpanzees have demonstrated equivalent levels of insight.

"They're big, really agile, really smart creatures and we need to respect that and conserve them," he says.

Only about 30,000 Asian elephants are still living in the wild.

NPR

'The Innocent Have Nothing To Fear' Echoes Real-Life Republican Race

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Stuart Stevens, a former strategist for Mitt Romney, whose new novel, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear, tells the story of a neck-and-neck Republican primary campaign that ends up at a brokered convention.
WAMU 88.5

How History Influences Diets In D.C. And Around The World

Kojo and chef Pati Jinich look at how history -- and famous names like El Chico, Azteca and even Fritos -- shaped modern Mexican-American cooking in the Washington region and beyond.

WAMU 88.5

Implications Of The Supreme Court's Immigration Ruling

Many undocumented immigrants are living in fear after a Supreme Court ruling effectively barred deferred deportation for 4 million people. What the ruling means for families across the country and how immigration policy is playing out in 2016 election politics.

NPR

Click For Fewer Calories: Health Labels May Change Online Ordering Habits

Will it be a hamburger or hummus wrap for lunch? When customers saw indications of a meal's calorie content posted online, they put fewer calories in their cart, a study finds.

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