Sunday, October 29, 2006

Elepants? Yes, elephants.

WEll, we had been taking about African creatures in the comments section so how about a shot off the webcam at Pete's Pond. Sent in my Eleanor Tauber who contributes so many wonderful photos to the blog.

Just what is going on with the little guy in the front? And why are the trunks of the two females closest to him raised?


Anonymous said...

October 8, 2006

An Elephant Crackup?

'We're not going anywhere," my driver, Nelson Okello, whispered to me one morning this past June, the two of us sitting in the front seat of a jeep just after dawn in Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda. We'd originally stopped to observe what appeared to be a lone bull elephant grazing in a patch of tall savanna grasses off to our left. More than one "rogue" crossed our path that morning — a young male elephant that has made an overly strong power play against the dominant male of his herd and been banished, sometimes permanently. This elephant, however, soon proved to be not a rogue but part of a cast of at least 30. The ground vibrations registered just before the emergence of the herd from the surrounding trees and brush. We sat there watching the elephants cross the road before us, seeming, for all their heft, so light on their feet, soundlessly plying the wind-swept savanna grasses like land whales adrift above the floor of an ancient, waterless sea....

Anonymous said...

September 30, 2003

Small, Isolated Elephants Follow Own Evolutionary Path

The small Borneo elephant represents the last remnant of an ancient lineage, a team of international biologists has determined. The finding, based on DNA samples, overturns a long-held prevailing theory of the animals' origins: that they were descended from domesticated elephants that reverted to the wild.

Instead, the elephant, isolated in the tropical rain forests of northeastern Borneo, has followed an independent evolutionary path for at least 18,000 years, and probably longer, the scientists conclude. In the process, it has become genetically distinct from other Asian elephants, the experts say, based on extensive comparisons of elephant DNA obtained across Asia.

The report appears in the October issue of The Public Library of Science, Biology, a new peer-reviewed, online journal that was created as a free alternative to established journals that allow access only to subscribers....