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This Is What A Forest Elephant Looked Like 200,000 Years Ago

Exhibition director Peter Luckner readies a 13-foot-tall model of a straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) for “Fossil Richness in the Geisel Valley,” on display in the Pfaennerhall Factory in Braunsbedra, central Germany. This type of forest elephant roamed the Geisel Valley some 200,000 years ago. » 4/18/15 10:00am 4/18/15 10:00am

Want To Create A Matriarchy That Works? Learn From Animals

We tend to think of nature as being both brutal and patriarchal. Animals struggle to survive and mate, and we assume that means that males will dominate. But some non-human species actually have matriarchies, that work out pretty well. Here's what nature can teach us about the secrets of making matriarchy work. » 4/07/15 11:37am 4/07/15 11:37am

Why Freeing Elephant Performers Is Not Nearly Enough

The costumes are coming off, the shackles are being unlocked, and the boxcars are opening. After more than 130 years, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus will retire its elephants. It's an important step — but animals need legal rights, and not just laws that treat them like things. » 3/18/15 8:20am 3/18/15 8:20am

Elephants Might Be Able To Self-Medicate To Induce Labor

We know that animals have found ways to get themselves drunk or high by eating certain plants or fermented fruit, but recently, scientists have started studying the self-medication of animals — a branch of science dubbed zoopharmacognosy. This is how we discovered elephants might have a way to bring on labor. » 7/28/14 7:40am 7/28/14 7:40am

Antiques Roadshow Update: They've Stopped Appraising Ivory!

Last month, I wrote of an effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and others to urge the PBS series Antiques Roadshow to stop appraising ivory, given the devastating toll that poaching has on elephant populations. The WCS announced today that the show has agreed to their requests.… » 6/04/14 2:19pm 6/04/14 2:19pm

Antiques Roadshow Needs To Stop Appraising Ivory

I'll say it: I love Antiques Roadshow. The look on the faces of folks who find out on national television that their priceless antiques are really worthless hunks of junk is, well, priceless. There's just one problem: by appraising ivory the PBS show communicates the idea that elephants are worth more dead than alive. » 5/19/14 7:11am 5/19/14 7:11am

How Elephant Armies Built the Ancient World

Without elephants, the ancient Library of Alexandria might not have existed. Every war has, as a byproduct, cultural and technological innovation: in our world, the US Civil War led to medical advancements and the Cold War put us in space. In the classical era, it was the race to build elephant armies that changed the… » 3/17/14 9:49pm 3/17/14 9:49pm

The Woman Who Shot Elephants for America's Natural History Museums

Delia Akeley is probably best remembered as a "wife-of," having spent two decades married to famed taxidermist and conservationist Carl Akeley. But Delia was a fascinating adventurer in her own right, an early primatologist, anthropologist studying the pygmy peoples of Belgian Congo, and skilled museum-backed… » 11/17/13 10:00am 11/17/13 10:00am