Study: Elephants 'naturally understand pointing'

Elephants understand pointing without being trained to recognise the gesture.

It is thought they may even use their trunks to "point" in a similar way to humans.

The research suggests elephants are "cognitively much more like us than has been realised". Credit: PA

The ability may be due to elephants' complex social systems which involve recognising unspoken signals, according to researchers from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

"What elephants share with humans is that they live in an elaborate and complex network in which support, empathy, and help for others are critical for survival," said Professor Richard Byrne.