Gizmo the Shih Tzu playing in the mirror

It looks like Gizmo the Shih Tzu has made a new friend. He’s desperately trying to get up close and personal, but there seems to be some kind of barrier in between them. That doesn’t stop him from having a great time.

Actually, scientists use mirrors to study animal behavior. They will put a mirror in front of an animal as a test to see if the animal can recognize itself. If it can, it seems to indicate that the animal is self-ware.

Certain animals, such as dolphins, chimps and elephants, pass the test. For example, if you paint a big red dot on an elephant and then show the elephant a mirror, the elephant recognizes that it has a big dot on its head and looks at the mirror while using its trunk to explore the dot.

Dogs, on the other hand, usually fail the mirror test. Does that mean they’re not self-aware? According to many researches, it just means that dogs don’t use site as their primary sense (they are much better at smell and hearing), so they don’t have an easy time recognizing themselves in the mirror.

Humans can typically recognize themselves in mirrors at 18 months old. Prior to that, they think their mirror friend is a playmate, much like Gizmo. Gizmo is only 10 weeks old in this video, so there is hope for him yet. Some day soon, Gizmo the Shih Tzu will probably lose interest in his friend in the mirror.




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