elephant : a thickset, usually extremely large, nearly hairless, herbivorous mammal (family Elephantidae, the elephant family) that has a snout elongated into a muscular trunk and two incisors in the upper jaw developed especially in the male into long ivory tusks — Webster
Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Three species are recognized, the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), the African forest elephant (L. cyclotis), and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, members of the order include deinotheres, gomphotheres, mammoths, and mastodons. Male African elephants are the largest extant terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). All elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water, and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants’ large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.
Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts, and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance from elephants while predators, such as lions, tigers, hyenas, and any wild dogs, usually target only young elephants (or “calves”). Females (“cows”) tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow. Elephants have a fission–fusion society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males (“bulls”) leave their family groups when they reach puberty and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate and enter a state of increased testosterone and aggression known as musth, which helps them gain dominance and reproductive success. Calves are the center of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, smell, and sound; elephants use infrasound, and seismic communication over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.
African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people. Elephants are used as working animals in Asia. In the past, they were used in war; today, they are often controversially put on display in zoos, or exploited for entertainment in circuses. Elephants are highly recognisable and have been featured in art, folklore, religion, literature, and popular culture. — Wikipedia
Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.
- Study reports first evidence of social...on September 30, 2022 at 4:57 pm
A long-term study led by primatologist Crickette Sanz at Washington University in St. Louis reveals the first evidence of lasting social relationships between chimpanzees and gorillas in the wild.
- Milky Way's graveyard of dead stars foundon September 29, 2022 at 2:18 pm
The first map of the "galactic underworld"—a chart of the corpses of once massive suns that have since collapsed into black holes and neutron stars—has revealed a graveyard that stretches three times the height of the Milky Way, and that almost a third of the objects have been flung out from the galaxy altogether.
- Study hints at how fishes in the twilight zone...on September 29, 2022 at 1:21 pm
A new study, led by British Antarctic Survey and the University of Bristol, provides the first evidence that a controversial evolutionary process may be responsible for lanternfishes becoming one of the most diverse families of fish in the deep sea.
- Why wandering albatrosses get divorced: New...on September 26, 2022 at 4:10 pm
Monogamy is widespread among birds and it is well known that many seabird species mate for life. Famous examples include charismatic penguins and albatrosses which are often portrayed in the media as the perfect couples. But this romantic trope doesn't tell the whole story.
- How money and technology are militarizing the...on September 26, 2022 at 4:03 pm
Thousands of animals and plants are bought and sold each year globally as food, medicine, clothing and furniture—even in the form of musical instruments. Wildlife, it seems, is big business.
Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.
Life Cell, Gene, Tree of Life
Plant Flower, Tree
Invertebrate Cuttlefish, Octopus, Ant, Bee, Butterfly, Spider, Lobster
Vertebrate Fish, Seahorse, Ray, Shark, Frog, Turtle, Tortoise, Dinosaur
Bird, Ostrich, Owl, Crow, Parrot
Mammal Bat, Rabbit, Giraffe, Camel, Horse, Elephant, Mammoth
Whale, Dolphin, Walrus, Seal, Polar Bear, Bear, Cat, Tiger, Lion, Dog, Wolf
Monkey, Chimpanzee, Human