Kids and dogs have a reputation for shrewdly sizing up strangers. Well, you can add elephants to that list. Scientists at St. Andrews University say African elephants can distinguish threats of danger posed by different people. A recent study concludes pachyderms know a predator by scent and the color of their clothes.
Members of the Maasai Kingdoms primarily wear red and spear African elephants as a show of manliness. Researchers documented the elephants responding fearfully when they detected the scent of garments worn by Maasai warriors.
The traditional red clothing also provoked an aggressive response from elephants; whereas, the animals showed a much milder reaction to the clothing worn by the Kamba people. The Kamba tend to be farmers. Researchers say elephants associated the color red with Maasai people.
This research is currently published on the web at Current Biology .