Mind of a Giant Mind of a Giant Now playing at NatGeoWild.com

Sneak peak - "Elephant in the Mirror"


Mind of a Giant explores what it is like to be an elephant, as revealed by revolutionary new research, much of which has been conducted especially for this program. The story starts with an accidental discovery. As a team of scientists struggles to find out how many elephants are left in Africa, they discover intriguing new behavior. In order to survive, the elephants are learning. They are clearly collaborating and passing information between them. The African elephant is way smarter than we ever realized. Then exciting and specially commissioned research reveals yet more astonishing capabilities. Elephants can co-operate, they can problem-solve, they have self-awareness. Some would say they are conscious. They certainly exhibit empathy, grief, joy, fear and revengefulness. We are discovering that elephants must be considered alongside the great apes and cetaceans as one of the cleverest and most complex creatures on the planet. We are also losing them fast….


  • Jeffrey Wright: Narrator
  • Emre Izat: Producer/Writer
  • Geoff Luck: Producer/Writer
  • Jennie Vázquez Alarcón: Editor
  • Karen Meehan: Head of Production
  • Hilary Sparrow: Senior Supervising Producer
  • Kim Nyhous: Production Manager
  • Paul G. Allen: Executive Producer
  • Jody Allen: Executive Producer
  • Carole Tomko: Executive Producer
  • Ellen Windemuth: Executive Producer
  • Rocky Collins: Executive Producer

Smarter than we ever knew

Mind Of A Giant gets to the heart of what it is like to be a modern elephant surviving in a world of poachers, new human settlements and other dangers, as revealed by revolutionary new research. Together with the top elephant scientists in the world, we learn that elephants are smarter than we ever knew before.


Sneak Peak: Looking at an Elephant's Big Brain


Sneak Peak: Elephant in the Mirror


Meet elephant expert Dr. Mike Chase and learn more about how he and Vulcan are protecting elephants


Thousands of elephants die each year so their tusks can be carved into religious objects. Recent estimates say we’re losing as many as 96 elephants a day. At this rate, elephants could be extinct in as little as 10 years. Paul G. Allen and the team at Vulcan Inc. are dedicated to protecting the world's largest land mammal. Explore what we're doing to save elephants in the slides below and discover what you can do to help.


We know elephants are vulnerable, but we don't know how many there are. Watch: Learn about the GEC.


Elephant populations are down 30% in seven years.

Discover the Great Elephant Census


“This is the bleakest time for elephants. The statistics on the plight of Africa’s elephants is daunting. I’m devoted to supporting new endeavors which provide meaningful science to help reverse this decline and to reduce the variability in elephant population statistics.”

Paul G. Allen


Paul G. Allen created The Great Elephant Census to inform efforts to conserve elephant populations.

See the results


“What is it like to be an elephant? That is a very difficult question to answer. But I’m sure it’s more complicated than anyone realizes. These animals can think, of that I have no doubt. There is so much more we need to find out."

Dr. Mike Chase - The Great Elephant Census


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Learn More

We partnered with Howard Hughes Medical Institute's BioInteractive to produce multimedia science education resources about elephants for the classroom, including short videos, hands-on activities, and interactive modules. Based on actual research, the resources teach key biological concepts aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Sign up below to be alerted as more education resources become available


Explore interactives and videos about elephant DNA profiling, sounds, genetic bottlenecks and more!

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Fact: Elephants can live for up to 70 years.


Fact: The search for food is a constant for elephants, who eat up to 300 kilos of food a day.
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Elephants are the only non-primate land mammal to demonstrate self-awareness using the mirror test.

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Fact: 96 elephants are killed every day in Africa.

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