Xavier Hubert Brierre is a French photographer who wanted to run an experiment studying how wild animals would respond to seeing their reflection for the first time. The project would see Brierre and his wife off to the African country of Gabon, where he set up large mirrors and let the observations begin.
The video starts with an inquisitive leopard, followed by a silverback gorilla who appears to be in the middle of a staring contest with a potential threat. A potential threat that looks an awful lot like himself. Heck, the threat even moves like he does. In an instant the silverback charges his 'adversary' only to bash up against the mirror with a mixture of intimidation and confusion. Of course...his efforts were predictably thwarted.
Other animals try their hands (or paws) at figuring out just what to make of the reflective installation. It's not too surprising that the elephant noticed, then nonchalantly went about his business. It appeared as though he didn't have time to waste on such monkey business.
Can you imagine living in the wild and never getting a chance to see what you actually look like? I can't fathom what these animals must have been thinking. Which reaction was your favorite? What did you think of Brierre's experiment overall? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below, and spread this clip if you found it as fascinating as I did.