Narrator: This is Science Today. Although Charles Darwin alluded to tool use by elephants and the author Rudyard Kipling observed it, no one had followed up on these observations until recently when a team of University of California, Davis researchers studied this phenomenon. Animal behaviorist Lynette Hart says they discovered an Asian elephant would take a branch and effectively use it as a fly switch.
Hart: And she will do this intelligently - that is, when there are more flies around, she will do more fly-switching with it. And it does actually reduce the fly abundance around her and these are bloodsucking flies in Asia, so they're quite serious.
Narrator: Hart says this reflects the tremendous brain capacity of the Asian elephant.
Hart: We don't really know exactly what uses elephants are making of this extraordinarily large brain, but this could be one of the uses - that they are intelligently making tools.
Narrator: Asian elephants have the greatest volume of cerebral cortex available for cognitive processing. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.