Elephant Science




Elephants REALLY never forget:
How freed circus animals Shirley and Jenny locked trunks, hugged and played when they met for the first time in 20 years

"I have never experienced anything even close to this depth of emotion." (quote from Carol Buckley in article)
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How to Scare Elephants--For Their Own Good

When an old African elephant matriarch hears a lion roar out on the savanna, she listens to discern whether it's a male or female. Why does she care? Because male lions are more likely to attack.
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Elephants depend on water for cooling, but only when it gets too hot

Robin Dunkin, a researcher from University of California, Santa Cruz, USA explains that although elephants have numerous tricks they use to keep cool, such as using their enormous ears as fans and/or radiators, sometimes this just isn't enough.
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New dawn in elephant research

Mobilising cheap, modern technologies and out-of-the-box thinking, scientists are trying to overcome the challenges of studying elephants in the wild.
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How Bomb Tests Could Date Elephant Ivory

Nuclear weapons tested in the atmosphere in the 1950s and '60s spread a radioactive variety of carbon worldwide, which was picked up by plants during photosynthesis and then deposited in the bodies of herbivores like African elephants. By looking at the levels of this carbon isotope — known as carbon-14 — in elephant tusks and ivory, researchers can find out how old they are.
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Elephants' switch to grass shaped tooth evolution, eventually

Ancient African elephants and their relatives lived in forests, originally munching leaves on trees. But as climate and habitat changed, so did their food preference.
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Scientists discover why elephants' ancestors changed their diet from leaves to grass

The change in feeding behaviour had been a scientific mystery, as it occurred three million years before elephants evolved to have teeth better-suited to eating grass.
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Elephants were once accomplished divers: U of M Prof

Shane Gibson/Metro Winnipeg University of Manitoba biology professor Dr. Kevin Campbell is part of an international team of scientists who’ve discovered how diving mammals have evolved the ability to hold their breath for long periods of time underwater.
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Do Elephants Have Souls?

"Everyone watched in joy and amazement as Tarra and Shirley intertwined trunks and made ‘purring’ noises at each other. Shirley very deliberately showed Tarra each injury she had sustained at the circus, and Tarra then gently moved her trunk over each injured part.” - (a portion of Carol Buckley's quote in the article).
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A Powerful Weapon Against Ivory Smugglers: DNA Testing

Hong Kong Customs seized 113 ivory tusks in a cargo shipment at Hong Kong International Airport on April 30 this year.
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On the horns of a mammoth dilemma

Can the ancient tusks of the extinct species retrieved from Arctic ice tell us exactly why it died out? Mammoths: can their fate be discerned from dental records?
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Elephants Better Beat the Heat-or Else

With a relatively small surface area to body volume, elephant heat dissipation is limited to the point where extended exertion in the heat can be fatal.
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Elephants Communicate in Sophisticated Sign Language, Researchers Say

Elephants may use a variety of subtle movements and gestures to communicate with one another, according to researchers who have studied the big mammals in the wild for decades. To the casual human observer, a curl of the trunk, a step backward, or a fold of the ear may not have meaning. But to an elephant—and scientists like Joyce Poole—these are signals that convey vital information to individual elephants and the overall herd.
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Malaysia: Understanding elephants’ needs to reduce conflicts

Scientific information is extremely important and valuable for both conservation managers and research scientists in their effort to manage and save the Bornean elephants.
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Climate change endangers elephants

Climate change leaves the animals at risk of drought, disease and death as the heat causes freshwater supplies to dwindle, infectious diseases to spread faster and brings with it one of the biggest killers of elephants in Myanmar - heat stroke.
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Elephants near Timbuktu make astonishing migration treks

A group of elephants near Timbuktu makes an epic journey each year in their quest for food and water. Researchers found that they travel across an area of 12,355 square miles (32,000 square kilometers) in the deserts of Mali, marking the largest known elephant range in the world.
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Scientists turn to genetics to help protect pygmy elephants

With only 2,000 left, they are the most endangered subspecies of Asian pachyderm. To help protect a diminutive elephant, researchers are taking an innovative look at the pachyderm's genome.
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Vanishing corridors: trying to keep big animals on the move across Tanzania

One of the biggest challenges for big African wildlife like lions, elephants, and buffalo is movement across native habitat that is increasingly being encroached on by humans.
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Relocating Elephants Backfires

You can move an elephant, but you can't make him stay. After monitoring a dozen bull Asian elephants in Sri Lanka that were transferred—three of them multiple times—to national parks, researchers have concluded that relocation neither reduces human-elephant conflicts nor helps conservation efforts.
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Hair keeps elephants cool, new research proves

The problem elephants have is heat control. Animals the size of elephants generate a lot of body heat from respiration, digestion, and movement.
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An Elephant's Silent Call

With their trumpet-like calls, elephants may seem like some of the loudest animals on Earth. But we can't hear most of the sounds they make. The creatures produce low-frequency noises between 1 to 20 Hertz, known as infrasounds, that help them keep in touch over distances as large as 10 kilometers. A new study reveals for the first time how elephants produce these low notes.
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