London: Elephants are more clever than you thought -- they never forget old friends, and are social network experts too, says a new study.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have also found in their study that just like humans, some elephants are social butterflies while others prefer to stick to a close-knit group of friends.
Past studies suggested that elephants usually live in small groups centred around females and their young while adult males live independently.
However, the latest study found that though males do live apart, females and their young actually have the sort of complex network of friends, relatives and acquaintances normally seen in humans.
Lead researcher Dr Shermin de Silva was quoted by the `Daily Mail` as saying, "Elephants are able to track one another over large distances by calling to each other and using their sense of smell.
"So the `herd` of elephants one sees at any given time is often only a fragment of a much larger social group.
Our work shows that they are able recognise their friends and renew these bonds even after being apart for a long time."
The study also found that some are more sociable than others and those who had few friends tended to be loyal to them, while those with a larger circle were less so.