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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 May 8;98(10):5937-42. Epub 2001 May 1.

Mirror self-recognition in the bottlenose dolphin: a case of cognitive convergence.

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  • 1Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences, New York Aquarium, Wildlife Conservation Society, Brooklyn, NY 11224, USA.


The ability to recognize oneself in a mirror is an exceedingly rare capacity in the animal kingdom. To date, only humans and great apes have shown convincing evidence of mirror self-recognition. Two dolphins were exposed to reflective surfaces, and both demonstrated responses consistent with the use of the mirror to investigate marked parts of the body. This ability to use a mirror to inspect parts of the body is a striking example of evolutionary convergence with great apes and humans.

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