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When an animal sees its own reflection, it often lashes out aggressively or withdraws in fear. We know that chimps don't understand that they're looking at themselves because in 1970, Gordon Gallup Jr. created a self-awareness test called the "mirror test." If you mark an animal with some paint, and it sees its reflection; self-aware animals will go right for the paint, non-self-aware animals won't. It's a simple-enough test that's been replicated many many times. The idea is, marking the body is testing the "theory of mind," or ability to imagine what others are thinking and feeling, separate from yourself.
Scientists believe that the reason animals don't recognize themselves is because they don't have a high-level of self-awareness. We can watch as human babies develop self-awareness too: young babies love to look at mirrors, but they think they're looking at a stranger until they're around 15-18 months old. Then, if there's a mark on their face, they'll touch a finger to it, showing they understand it is own reflection they're seeing and not some other baby. Eventually, chimps figure this out too, and will begin exploring the mirror, flopping their arms around and making "odd body motions." Animal Psychologist Diana Reiss calls this the "Groucho Stage", but eventually once they understand what the reflection is, they'll use it to see parts of the body normally invisible to them. Scientists have been testing animals in this way, and so far only bonobos, orangutans, dolphins, orcas, elephants, humans, magpies and possibly pigeons have passed the mirror test.
Mirror Test (Science Daily)
"The mirror test is a measure of self-awareness developed by Gordon Gallup Jr in 1970. The test gauges self-awareness by determining whether an animal can recognize its own reflection in a mirror as an image of itself."
What Do Animals See in a Mirror? (Nautilus)
"Gallup wasn't the first to come up with the notion that it might be significant if a person or animal recognizes itself in the mirror. He would only later learn that Charles Darwin had shown mirrors to orangutans, but they didn't figure the mirror out, at least while he was watching. Darwin had also noted that, for their first few years, his children couldn't recognize themselves in their reflections."