Related topics: animals · mammals

Seals help plug Antarctic water mystery

Elephant seals have helped scientists to demonstrate that fresh water from Antarctic's melting ice shelves slows the processes responsible for the formation of deep-water ocean currents that regulate global temperatures.

Do elephants call ''human!''?

African elephants make a specific alarm call in response to the danger of humans, according to a new study of wild elephants in Kenya.

Wild brown bear observed using a tool

(PhysOrg.com) -- Because brown bears are so reclusive, not to mention dangerous to be around, not a lot is really known about their brain power. This is actually rather odd because bears have the largest brains for their ...

Genetic study shakes up the elephant family tree

New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago - ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct - is more closely related to today's African forest elephant than the forest ...

Are animals as smart, or as dumb, as we think they are?

Does my dog only think of eating, sleeping and chasing squirrels? Does my girlfriend's cat really have the capacity to plot my accidental death? Are cows just walking hamburgers and pigeons intent on world domination?

Desert elephants pass on knowledge—not mutations—to survive

Despite reported differences in appearance and behavior, DNA evidence finds that Namibian desert elephants share the same DNA as African savanna elephants. However, Namibian desert-dwelling elephants should be protected so ...

Mouse to elephant? Just wait 24 million generations

Scientists have for the first time measured how fast large-scale evolution can occur in mammals, showing it takes 24 million generations for a mouse-sized animal to evolve to the size of an elephant.

page 1 from 40

Elephant

Elephants are large land mammals of the order Proboscidea and the family Elephantidae. There are three living species: the African Bush Elephant, the African Forest Elephant and the Asian Elephant (also known as the Indian Elephant). Other species have become extinct since the last ice age, the Mammoths, dwarf forms of which may have survived as late as 2,000 BC, being the best-known of these. They were once classified along with other thick skinned animals in a now invalid order, Pachydermata.

Elephants are the largest land animals. The elephant's gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any land animal. At birth it is common for an elephant calf to weigh 120 kilograms (260 lb). They typically live for 50 to 70 years, but the oldest recorded elephant lived for 82 years. The largest elephant ever recorded was shot in Angola in 1956. This male weighed about 12,000 kilograms (26,000 lb), with a shoulder height of 4.2 metres (14 ft), a metre (yard) taller than the average male African elephant. The smallest elephants, about the size of a calf or a large pig, were a prehistoric species that lived on the island of Crete during the Pleistocene epoch.

The elephant has appeared in cultures across the world. They are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence, where they are thought to be on par with cetaceans and hominids. Aristotle once said the elephant was "the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind". The word "elephant" has its origins in the Greek ἐλέφας, meaning "ivory" or "elephant".

Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators, although lions may take calves or weak individuals. They are, however, increasingly threatened by human intrusion and poaching. Once numbering in the millions, the African elephant population has dwindled to between 470,000 and 690,000 individuals according to a March 2007 estimate. While the elephant is a protected species worldwide, with restrictions in place on capture, domestic use, and trade in products such as ivory, CITES reopening of "one time" ivory stock sales, has resulted in increased poaching. Certain African nations report a decrease of their elephant populations by as much as two-thirds, and populations in certain protected areas are in danger of being eliminated Since recent poaching has increased by as much as 45%, the current population is unknown (2008).

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA