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Tree of Life
Plant Flower, Tree
Invertebrate 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
These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
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
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Human-wildlife conflict threatens protected...
on January 24, 2020 at 10:08 am
Each year, more than a million wildebeest migrate across the grassy plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania into Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve. But on the borders of these protected areas, human populations are increasing and wild ecosystems are struggling to survive in the face of development. Understanding these pressures is crucial for protecting people and wildlife, and to curb illegal activities such as poaching.
Sustainability claims about rubber don't stick
on January 22, 2020 at 6:14 pm
Many companies work hard to present an environmentally responsible public image. But how well do these claims stack up? In a new study led by the University of Göttingen, researchers investigated the claims regarding sustainability, including conservation and fair-pay, as presented by the French Michelin Group. The researchers then compared these claims with the effects described by local people in the village of Muara Sekalo in Indonesia. The villagers' reports indicated that […]
A chronicle of giant straight-tusked elephants
on January 21, 2020 at 12:34 pm
About 800,000 years ago, the giant straight-tusked elephant Palaeoloxodon migrated out of Africa and became widespread across Europe and Asia.
Global study finds predators are most likely to...
on January 21, 2020 at 8:48 am
A first of its kind, global study on the impacts of human land-use on different groups of animals has found that predators, especially small invertebrates like spiders and ladybirds, are the most likely to be lost when natural habitats are converted to agricultural land or towns and cities. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology.
Jumbo undertaking: Elephant milk under the...
on January 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm
On a recent sunny day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a team of specialized zookeepers collected breast milk samples from two female elephants nursing their 1-year-old calves. Unlike the mechanical breast pumps used by human mothers, or the machines employed by dairy cow farmers, the process requires hands-on expertise. It's something of a mammoth effort: Success depends a lot upon how the elephant mothers, called dams, are feeling that day.