Observations of elephants in their natural habitat by researchers such as Dr. Joyce Poole suggest that elephants are indeed thoughtful, curious, and ponderous creatures. Their large brains, with such a diverse collection of interconnected, complex neurons, appear to provide the neural foundation of the elephant’s sophisticated cognitive abilities, including social communication, tool construction and use, creative problem-solving, empathy, and self-recognition, including theory of mind.
The brains of all species are unique. Indeed, even the brains of individuals within a given species are unique. However, the special morphology of elephant cortical neurons reminds us that there is certainly more than one way to wire an intelligent brain.