Researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Bochum, with the Medical School Hamburg, discovered evidence that roosters can recognize themselves in a mirror.
“Whether animals can recognize themselves and thus have self-awareness is one of the central questions in behavioral research,” says doctoral student Sonja Hillemacher, who has been scientifically investigating chicken husbandry for years at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Bonn with her colleague Dr. Inga Tiemann.
They aim to check whether the roosters emit alarm calls in the presence of a conspecific and stay silent when they are alone. The researchers tested 58 roosters and repeated the experiment three times.
A typical self-recognition test in front of a mirror is the so-called “Mark Test,” where a colored mark placed on the animal’s head that they can recognize in front of a mirror. When they begin exploring the marked area in front of the mirror, it proves it recognizes its reflection.
However, the test doesn’t always work as some animals perceived as self-aware don’t notice the mirror. Still, results from the experiment indicated that the roosters possibly recognized in their mirror image or another animal mimicking their behavior.