A study of African elephants found that older ones are the best at making crucial decisions about predators because they've experienced similar peril before.
Scientists have discovered that elephants really do have the long memories they are credited with - especially when it comes to danger.
A study of African elephants found that older ones are the best at making crucial decisions about predators because they've experienced similar peril before, reports the Daily Mail.
When families were played male or female lion roars from a loudspeaker - simulating their presence - those with older matriarchs correctly focused their defensive reactions on male lions that are the more adept killers.
Dr Karen McComb, of the University of Sussex, and colleagues said the ability to make this subtle distinction highlights the importance of age in leadership and the advantage of longevity in large-brained, social mammals.
The researchers said: "Our work provides the first direct experimental evidence that older matriarchs are in fact able to make better decisions when faced with ecological challenges in this case, the presence of dangerous predators."
The findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.