Elephant paintings apparently debunked

A few days ago I wrote a blog here relaying what I believed to be an amazing feat:  elephants painting on easels in Thailand. I wrote:

Part of the elephant show involved five elephants who stood behind paint easels and for 15 minutes each painted as their handlers handed them bushes. The results were amazing and moved me to wonder once again what precisely separates humans from other beings, in this case highly intelligent mammals.

Several readers quickly cited a report online that debunked the paintings along with a video seeming to show an elephant's handler guiding the mammal in the process of the putting paint on the easel. 

Visit National Catholic Reporter's Online Classifieds to learn about job opportunities, events, retreats and more.

I reported what I saw, but recognize I was  likely tricked along with the rest of the audience. I am not sure this will be settled with certainty any time soon. However, I encourage readers to check out Snopes.com Elephant Painting to read about the concerns critics have in the handling of these beautiful creatures, and the trickery involved in the painting process. 


Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here

Advertisement