Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Amazing Elephant Info

Asian and African Elephants (image source: wikipedia)
It's Not A Nose
An elephants trunk is really its upper lip. It's tusks are teeth. Scientist believe elephants are so amazingly intelligent because of the hundreds of muscles and thousands of nerves it takes to operate their trunk, all connected to parts of their really large brain.

Semi-Domestic
Although still wild animals, many scientist believe Asian elephants are really semi-domesticated since humans have trained them for work for thousands of years. The only thing that keeps them from being fully domesticated is the size and unpredictability of the males makes domestic breeding so difficult.

Horton Hears a What?
Using their remarkable large ears and low frequency vocal sounds, inaudible to humans, elephants communicate with each over many miles.

World Travelers
Although their range is now limited to small areas of Asia and Africa, elephants once lived all over Africa, Europe, Asia and North America and their yearly migration routes stretched from Greenland to Equatorial Africa.

Prehistoric man used to follow the elephant herds, much like Native Americans used to follow the buffalo herds, hunting them for food, skins and even using their bones and tusks to build their homes. Some scientists suggest following the elephant herds explains how humans migrated from Africa to Europe, Asia and North America.

Girl Power
Elephant herds are all females and juvenile males. The lead elephant is called the "matriarch" and the secondary elephants under her are called "aunties".

Adult male elephants live solitary lives and only seek out females when they enter their musth stage. The musth cycle begins when male elephants pick up the scent of ovulating females using their amazing trunks. The smell triggers a massive injection of testosterone into their blood stream, making them much, much more aggressive. A bull elephant in musth emits a thick, sticky, fluid from their temporal lobes leaving a dark stain.

No Good Reason to Kill an Elephant
Although poaching is still the leading cause of death among elephants, the only commercially viable parts of the elephant are their tusks (which are carved into useless decorative items) and the hairs on their tails (which are woven into bracelets and rings, said to bring good luck). The rest of the elephant's massive body is left to rot after poachers take the tusks and tail hairs.

More Information about Elephants at Wikipedia
More Information about Elephant Preservation at the World Wildlife Fund

No comments: