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Adélie penguins show signs of self-awareness on the mirror test

When shown their reflection, wild Adélie penguins can tell it isn’t another penguin – but they may not fully connect their mirror image to themselves

Life 5 December 2022

B640PK Antarctica, Adelie penguins ( pygoscelis adeliae ) kissing

Adélie penguins show hints of self-awareness

frans lemmens / Alamy Stock Photo

Adélie penguins seem to have passed a portion of the mirror test, in which animals that see their reflection in a mirror appear to recognise that they are seeing themselves and not another individual. The researchers who ran this experiment say the findings suggest these penguins may have a degree of self-awareness, but others aren’t convinced.

The mirror test, developed in the 1970s, traditionally includes marking an area of the animal’s body, such as the forehead, and seeing if the animal then …