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 5:19pm 6/04/14 5:19pm

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 10:11am 5/19/14 10:11am

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… » 3/18/14 12:49am 3/18/14 12:49am

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

Another remarkable example of how smart elephants are

Elephants are widely regarded as one of the world's most intelligent creatures, able to use tools, show grief and exhibit remarkable memory. New research now shows African elephants can do something no other wild animal has been shown to do: They can understand human pointing gestures without any kind of training. » 10/11/13 9:20am 10/11/13 9:20am

"Elephant taunting" is now a thing in India

Environmentalist website Conservation India is reporting on the rise of a new and disturbing spectator sport that has emerged in south India's Coimbatore forests. It's the practice of "elephant taunting," a bizarre and incredibly dangerous activity in which onlookers harass elephants to the point of retaliation. The… » 1/17/13 8:40am 1/17/13 8:40am

Operation Dumbo Drop Gone Terribly Wrong: How to clean a giant elephant…

Check out the 1933 staff of the American Museum of Natural History pressing the wrinkles from their giant Elephant hide. The New York Museum has released a collection of stills showing the prepping, cleaning and mounting their giant Elephant exhibit. It's actually quite delightfully demented. » 12/05/12 8:40am 12/05/12 8:40am

In 1916, a circus in Tennessee sentenced an elephant to death by hanging

In the early 1900s, it wasn't uncommon for humans to use their waxing technological prowess for the express purpose of torturing the hell out of animals. In one particularly mind-boggling incident, a five-ton circus elephant named Mary was condemned to death by hanging after her owners nixed executions by firearms,… » 5/24/12 9:35am 5/24/12 9:35am

In 1929, the most important article in the history of zoology was…

This honor goes to the above blurb from Modern Mechanics magazine (click to enlarge), wherein naturalist Harry C. Ostrander foisted blatant pro-Babar propaganda upon an unsuspecting audience. Duplicitous trunked pretender! For more old-school taxonomic comedy, see J.W. Buel's biological tableaus of humans being… » 5/22/12 1:10pm 5/22/12 1:10pm