Elephants are intelligent creatures capable of using tools, identifying languages, and mourning their dead. An Asian elephant named Pang Pha recently added a new skill to her species’ resume: peeling a banana sans thumbs.
Pang Pha’s clever display of dexterity was reported in a recent issue of the journal Current Biology. In the video below, you can watch as the elephant breaks off the top of a banana with its trunk and tosses it on the ground. When she picks it up again, the fruit falls away from the loose peel, leaving her with an easy-to-eat snack.
The study authors believe this is a learned behavior Pang Pha picked up from her caretakers at the Berlin Zoo where she lives. Though she proved she’s capable of the trick, she only performs it under specific circumstances. The elephant is happy to eat a green, underripe banana with the peel on. When given a ripe banana with brown spots, she prefers to peel it before digging in. The exception is in group settings, where Pang Pha prioritizes eating her food quickly before her peers can finish it, even if that means the bananas aren’t prepared to her liking.
Elephants don’t have fingers, but their strong, flexible trunks make them one of the more dextrous creatures in the animal kingdom. They use the appendage to communicate, breathe while crossing water, and even soothe themselves when they’re young. Here are more facts you should know about the pachyderms.