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Top 10 Facts About Elephants

Kate Mulcahy . . . Comments

Elephants are a huge part of popular culture and show up as metaphors across all media. They form a part of religious beliefs and are often associated with wisdom or altruism. However, many people who live outside the normal range of elephants are unfamiliar with the many interesting facts about them. This list gives an overview of ten interesting areas about elephants.

10

Types of Elephant

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In English, when we say ‘elephant,’ we are actually referring to several different species. Until 2010, only 2 species of elephant were scientifically recognized. However, genetic testing has revealed that there are at least 3 species. These are the Asian elephant alphas maximus, the African bush elephant loxodonta Africana (also called the savannah elephant), and the African forest elephant loxodonta cyclones. The Asian elephant is the smallest, and has small ears and tusks. They have two prominent bumps on their foreheads. They hold their heads more erect than both African elephants, have no protruding upper lip, and have a single short finger-like lip at the end of their trunk which they use for fine manipulation of objects. Both African elephants have larger ears, although the forest elephant has much rounder ears, are less hairy, have larger tusks, rounded foreheads, and have two finger-like lips on their trunks. The forest elephant has relatively straight, downward-pointing tusks whilst the bush elephant has magnificently curved ones. Most elephants are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active during dawn and evening, although this varies due to local climate. Unfortunately, all elephant species are endangered.

9

Reproduction

Elephant Mating Ritual

Homosexual elephants, which are well-documented, mate year-round, but an elephant cow (female) is fertile for only a few days each year. During this time, bulls (males) will try to court her by using rituals involving various affectionate gestures and nuzzles. If she accepts one, she will respond with similar gestures and after 20 minutes or so of a courting ritual they will mate. If she conceives, she will be pregnant for 22 months, longer than any other land animal. Some elephants induce labour by self-medicating with certain plants. The calf (baby), when born, weighs over 100kg. Elephants are quadrupeds, so unlike humans, they can have relatively much wider pelvises which gives them lower infant and mother mortality rates and birth complications than in humans. Baby elephants are initially blind and some take to sucking their trunk for comfort in the same way that humans suck their thumbs. Infants have few survival instincts and are instead taught by their mothers and the more experienced members of their herds. The mother will selectively appoint several babysitters to care for the baby so that she has time to eat enough to produce sufficient milk for it.


8

Social Lives

An Elephant Herd At Jim Corbett National Park

Female elephants live in a herd of about 10 individuals lead by the most experienced matriarch, whereas the males are normally solitary and move from herd to herd. The females in each herd help each other find food and care for calves. They do not lie down to sleep because of the excellent support their very straight legs give them. Elephants communicate within their herds or between herds many kilometers away mostly using sounds too low for human ears to perceive and by stamping their feet. Within their herds, elephants are believed to have the same or similar levels of cooperation as chimpanzees. An elephant herd is considered one of the most closely-knit societies of any animal, and a female will only leave it if she dies or is captured by humans. Males will leave the herd as they become adolescent, around the age of 12, and live in temporary ‘bachelor herds’ until they are mature and live alone.

7

Death

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Elephant graveyards are not supported by any hard evidence, but death is important to them nonetheless. Their normal lifespan is 60-80 years. Elephants, humans, and Neanderthals are the only animals known to have death rituals. If an elephant becomes sick, herd members will bring it food and help support it as it stands. If it dies, they will try to revive it with food and water for a while. Once it is clear that an elephant is dead, the herd will become very quiet. They often dig a shallow grave and cover the deceased elephant with dirt and branches, and will stay at the grave for days afterwards. If the elephant had a particularly close relationship with its deceased peer, it can show signs of depression. Even herds that come across an unknown lone elephant who has died will show it similar respects. There are also reported cases of elephants burying dead humans they have found in this way.

6

Extinct Elephants

Deinotherium Small

The elephant taxonomic order, proboscidea, has only 3 members today, but it used to have over forty. Most of these thrived until the end of the last glacial period 12500 years ago. These creatures were generally similar in size to modern Asian elephants, although there were tiny dwarf elephants and the humongous deinotherium, 4.5m tall and weighing 14 tones. For comparison, the largest African bush elephant recorded was 4m tall and weighed 12 tones. Within proboscidea, the mastodon family mammutidae contains modern elephants and the very famous mammoths. Mammoths had long curved tusks and were much hairier than even modern Asian elephants. The last mammoth to go extinct was the woolly mammoth, whose numbers had dwindled as the climate warmed and was finally hunted to extinction in Europe, Asia, and the Americas 12000 years ago, although some populations isolated from humans persisted until as recently as 4000 years ago.

5

Jumbo the Elephant

Jumbo

There have been many famous individual elephants in the world, but one of the largest was Jumbo, whose name is now used to mean ‘huge.’ His name is thought to be derived from the Swahili word for ‘boss’ or ‘chief.’ He was an African bush elephant born in 1861 and taken to a French zoo as an infant. He was later transferred to a British zoo where he gave children rides on his back and was greatly admired. Jumbo’s caretaker even gave him an occasional gallon of whisky which he believed was good for Jumbo’s health. Eventually Jumbo was sold and exported to the USA, and such was his popularity that one hundred thousand children wrote to the Queen asking her to keep Jumbo for them. In the USA he achieved his full fame and was widely exhibited until his death at the age of 24. His health had been steadily declining for years, and when he was hit by a train going at full speed he could not recover, dying soon after. Jumbo was 4m tall at the time of his death.


4

Teeth and Tusks

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Humans are born toothless, grow a set of milk teeth, and finally lose these as they grow permanent adult teeth. Similarly, elephants are born without tusks, grow milk tusks, and replace these with adult tusks. In Asian elephants, females are usually tusk less. Elephants use tusks for digging and lifting heavy objects, and sometimes as a part of mating rituals. Although now illegal, there is heavy poaching of elephants for their tusk ivory. This is believed to be why the average size of elephant tusks is gradually decreasing – elephants with smaller tusks are not poached and live to reproduce more. Elephants normally only sleep 2 or 3 hours each day because they need to spend time eating to support their huge size, as they can eat up to 150kg of vegetation every day. Due to their herbivorous diet, elephant teeth wear out quickly and they have 6 or 7 sets instead of only 2 like humans. New teeth grow in the back of the mouth and move forward to replace old worn sets. After the last set has been worn out, solitary elephants will usually die of starvation whereas herd elephants will help feed starving members of their group.

3

Trunks

Elephant%20Trunk

The elephant trunk, a specialized nose, is analogous to an octopus tentacle in terms of dexterity. It allows them a high degree of manipulation of objects and elephants are adept tool-users. Elephants have been taught to paint with their adroit trunks and produce some fascinating artwork. In captivity, elephants easily learn how to open simple locks and many master more complex ones, something impossible for most other animals due to a lack of dexterity and intellect. Elephants in zoos have worked together to take advantage of this, by having many act as lookouts as another undoes the lock, or in one instance an elephant feigned injury as a distraction while another elephant helped the others escape. Once all the elephants were out, the distraction elephant climbed to its feet and ran for the door, surprising its tenders who had been unaware of the ruse.


2

Feet

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Each elephant foot has 5 toes, but not every toe has a nail. An easy way to tell the two African elephant species apart is by counting toenails. The African forest elephant and the Asian elephant both have 5 toenails on the front feet and 4 on the back feet. The larger African bush elephant has 4 or sometimes 5 on the front feet and 3 on the back. An X-ray of an elephant’s foot will reveal that its bones are actually standing on tip-toe. Their feet are flat because of a large pad of gristle under each heel which acts as a shock absorber and helps them walk quietly. Their legs are much straighter than those of other animals and support their weight so well that elephants sleep while standing. Elephants spend most of their lives walking huge distances, and their feet are suitably adapted to such a lifestyle. Zoos which keep elephants often find they develop foot problems due to a lack of constant walking, and treatments include tailored shoes to protect their softened feet.

1

Intelligence

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Elephants are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth. Their brains weigh 5kg, much more than the brain of any other land animal. Their brains have more complex folds than all animals except whales, which is thought to be a major factor in their intellect. They commonly show grief, humor, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, tool-use, playfulness, and excellent learning abilities. An elephant in Korea surprised its zoo keepers by independently learning to mimic the commands they gave it by verbalizing on the end of its trunk, successfully learning 8 words and their context. Elephants have a more developed hippocampus, a brain region responsible for emotion and spatial awareness, than any other animal, and studies indicate that they are superior to humans in keeping track of multiple objects in 3D space. There are many reports of elephants showing altruism towards other species, such as rescuing trapped dogs at considerable cost to themselves. As mentioned above, they respect their dead and have death rituals. There are stories of the herds of elephants killed by humans retrieving the poached bones and returning them to the place of death to bury them.



  • roy

    I love elephants! What a wonderful list!

    • notimpressed

      I know right, this list is perfect. Finally, a list centered on me and my relatives.

      • jfreaker

        what the… even Asian elephants are smaller.. just sayin’

        • brian

          LOL…good one

  • Greg

    Very interesting list, and a good overview.

  • Elephas

    The little anecdotes about things elephants have done were pretty cool. Nice list.

    • Address

      Yeah, that one where they went and raided the bones of their buddy to bury them properly is really sweet.

  • This is a great list Kate. I reckon most people find elephants fascinating & their social dynamics have always interested me since I saw a documentary when I was a kid. The way they reacted to a death in the herd was touching.

    • emmia

      what

  • loioi

    why is omeed jewish

    • ni99a

      Nice. The nose reference for jewish in this list.

  • TNT

    OK I didn’t know most of these things. Learnt a lot here.

  • Stephanie

    Congrats on a great list, Kate! It was touching to read about their death rituals.

  • Name

    Fantastic list =) Unfortunately someone will find a way to say it’s ‘too American’ or too ‘African’ and ruin it for everybody. But it was great, and personally I learned a lot. Kudos.

    • Mutually Assured Destruction

      People will probably find it too ‘elephanty’

      • Amrendra

        Why do you think people will find this list American? What has America to do with elephants, though happy to see Africa mentioned here a lot. What do you expect a list called “Top 10 American Elephants”?

        • Spaz

          Apparently Amrendra you don’t read this list to often. It is common with most list that someone says that it is to American. Lately, someone known as Notimpressed is very annoying because of this. I suspect that notimpressed will say that this list is too American because it mentioned that Jumbo was sold to the USA.

    • DanF

      So far only you…

      • Arsnl

        Barbra Streisand effect at its finest

  • dustofstars

    Great list! It makes me so sad to think of all the elephants in captivity! Or those killed and taken from their loved ones! Sometimes, I am so ashamed of what humanity does to other species! If only they didn’t have anything heartless, greedy humans wanted! : (

    • Flippant

      It makes me so sad to think of all the elephants in captivity!

      Why, Dusto? Captive breeding programs in zoos and sanctuaries do a lotta good for endangered species. It’s not all sad and bad.

      This pic is a coupla years old now. But it’s of a baby elephant, Mali, who was born at the Melbourne Zoo. Like all things Australian (even adopted Aussies like elephants) we’re oh so loving and tender. There’s just something in the air, or water, that makes us sweet as pie. :D

      http://gifs.gifbin.com/102010/1288006310_mali-the-baby-elephant.gif

  • HMS Awesome

    Nice list, I didn’t know elephants were so interesting

  • dustofstars

    Why is there an ad selling elephant hyde belts accompanying this article? : (

    • OddJobb

      Holy crap, that’s right! I never pay attention to ads until you pointed it out.
      I don’t think it’s on purpose, ads just pickup on words/themes in articles and matchup.
      However, it does seem very insensitive. For example, if an article on Judism had an ad about Neo-Nazis (if such ads exits).

      • Flippant

        ads just pickup on words/themes in articles and matchup.

        Lol the ad I’m getting is “Classic Lady Funerals.” What’s that trying to say, eh? Elephants? :?

        *looks you square in the eye*

        Does my bum look big in this? :P

        • Arsnl

          Yes. Yes it does…The advantages of living on another continent

          • Flippant

            Lol Arsni, don’t make me fire up my submarine and go on a French Safari Hunt. :D

          • Arsnl

            Flip, honey, I think you burnt out a pixel on your screen. It’s ArsnL.
            ” fire up my submarine”
            Hmm. I wouldnt do that if i were you. Subs have really narrow hatches. You might get stuck :-)

          • Flippant

            Lol sweetheat *grins*…

            I think you burnt out a pixel on your screen. It’s ArsnL.

            Lol oh oh oh ha ha ha ho ho ho! No no, mon cheli’l penis’d one! If you look back last week to the “Skull” List, then you’d see/know how “Arsni” is what it is. :P

            The pixelations non save wee wee bon petite pee pee. My sub will still find, it’s a telescopic lens.. wee. :D

            http://photoshopcontest.com/images/large/y3qihins7m7jl3kdat790gk2nsi0nfyhm524.gif

            Subs have really narrow hatches. You might get stuck

            Lmfao.. eff youuuuu!! I’m not a heffa!! :lol:

          • Arsnl

            “The pixelations non save wee wee bon petite pee pee. My sub will still find, it’s a telescopic lens.. wee. ”
            Oi oi. Watcha sayin there Bruce?

            “Lmfao.. eff youuuuu!! I’m not a heffa!!”
            *gets the Crisco jar*

            “The pleasure-bot had done it’s job”
            *Puts the Crisco jar slowly down and runs away from it…*
            What did you do? I made fried chicken yesterday. It tasted of aluminium. :-S.

          • dizit

            Flippant
            Lol oh oh oh ha ha ha ho ho ho!
            mon cheli’l penis’d one!
            …wee wee bon petite pee pee

            Flip, sweetie, time to lay off the booze now

        • jacaris

          the ad I’m getting is

          I don’t get ads.

  • bluesman87

    Dig the way they trwat their dead, seem like solid gents.

  • Phineas

    Elephants are a lot more awesome than I thought. The escape story is pretty cool, my brothers wouldn’t be able to pull that off.

  • RDaneel

    omg EXCELLENT list!

  • Dogmatix

    I freaken LOVE elephants!!! Awesome list about one of my favourite animals!

  • Schiesl

    Best list in a long long time. Wonderful and beautiful creatures

    • A Guy

      wow no to much something?
      any loved the list have to show my mum she LOVES elephants thanks

      • Flippant

        wow no to much something?

        Lol that looks like something I say when I jump on here a little bit drunk (read: tanked up to the fkn eyeballs). :lol:

        Anyways, I’m glad you didn’t ask me that question, Guy. Best of luck, Schiesl. :D

  • Amrendra

    Gentle giants. Humans are a curse and a disease for everyone else including for their own kind. Loved this article so much!!!

  • me

    Wow. Now I really love elephants!

    • Stefan

      Can I just say what a reduction to seek out sodmboey who actually knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know the way to bring a difficulty to gentle and make it important. Extra individuals need to read this and perceive this side of the story. I cant consider youre no more popular because you positively have the gift.

  • Spaz

    Cool list but I thought that it was funny that in #8 the author says that a female will only leave the herd if she dies. I guess that she has no other choice when she dies.

  • Meg

    Best list in ages. Well done!

    • Erwin

      The subsequent time I read a blog, I hope that it desont disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to learn, however I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could possibly repair if you werent too busy in search of attention.

  • the silent elephant

    “Elephants communicate within their herds or between herds many kilometers away mostly using sounds too low for human ears to perceive”

    That is amazing. They could have an incredible language and everything that is completely silent to us. Two elephants could be absolutely shouting at each other at the zoo and no-one could hear a thing.

  • Anon

    What you forgot to include was the elephant’s fifth leg or its penis. Google it.

  • OddJobb

    Kate, excellent list but you only needed one fact: Elephants are the most awesomest and best animals out there… ’nuff said.

  • Daw

    I’m glad elephants have wider pelvises, because otherwise giving birth to a 100kg baby sounds like anything but fun!

  • Reggae

    This list was interesting but the Jumbo part made it waaaaaaay too American :-(

  • Borten

    Too American. Too elephanty. Too many pictures. Too many words. Too many comments on this list. Too fact based.

  • Tim

    Great list!

  • Ashwin

    Nice list on the lovely magnificent animals

  • Handrejka

    Great list Kate, very well presented too.

  • oak

    this list went well with my coffee…nice one.

    • oak

      oh, and thanks for not including the edison elephant cuz thats makes me sad…wait, i just made myself sad

      • Nikolai

        There was that list a while back on elephants who have been executed. The poor things. We capture them, distress them, hurt them, force them to live a life they were not designed for and we make harder than it needs to be, and surprisingly a lot of them do not respond peacefully. So then we decide we have to kill them in torturous ways. I know people aren’t quite that bad anymore but there are still some awful things that happen to the poor animals.

        People used to not feel that bad because I guess they felt assured that elephants were completely insensible and stupid beasts. It’s only worse now that we know that they have a more developed emotion part of the brain than we do, and have language and families and all the rest.

        Let’s all respect and enjoy these wonderful animals. If we can spread that kind of a mindset, then hopefully one day they won’t be mistreated or endangered anymore.

  • mom424

    Great job Kate. Good thing that Elephants have to spend so much of their resources supporting their bulk – otherwise there might have been some competition for dominant species eh? There is some consolation in the fact that elephants too leave environmental damage in their wake. They did that before we encroached upon their territory by the way – it just didn’t matter when they had near unlimited living space. Hopefully the rise in ecotourism will help to insure that their territory doesn’t shrink any further.

    Again, good work Kate – keep it up. :)

    • FunkyGibbon

      For an animal to live, it has to cause some sort of damage to other animals or plants, either by eating them or eating things they eat so there is nothing left, or living in their space, and so on. Beavers cause tremendous damage from their dams and large cats can wreak havoc on local herbivore populations. On the other hand, many species rely on other ones to keep their lives difficult to keep their population down, lest they multiply too much, eat all the available food and then all starve and go extinct.

      A lot of the media puts forward this idea that apart from humans, all animals live in harmony together, and anything as ‘advanced’ as environmental destruction is purely a human domain. This is absolutely not true. We do cause a lot of damage, but so does every other animal in its own way. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do anything about it, just pointing out that it’s natural.

      Also, by percentage of species killed, the biggest extinction was before animals even existed. It was caused by oxygen, which is toxic to life that is not adapted to it. The ancestors of plants started pumping out oxygen as a waste product and in the process nearly wiped out all life on Earth. Even if we nuked every corner of the planet right now we couldn’t cause that much destruction.

      Anyway, just saying that yes, elephants cause damage, and we need to help reduce that, but it’s normal to happen and we aren’t at all special in our ability to damage the environment. You made a good point that few people are aware of, and I just wanted to add this.

      • Flippant

        A lot of the media puts forward this idea that apart from humans, all animals live in harmony together

        LoL! Wut? What the hell kind of media have you been watching/reading? You know that Disney cartoons don’t count, right? :lol:

        and anything as ‘advanced’ as environmental destruction is purely a human domain.

        Again, wut? Lol can you maybe give a couple of examples of this? It’s just that I can’t imagine any country, any peoples, not being well aware of the dstruction that certain animals do around the place. :)

        • me

          OK so I just googled “environmental destruction” and the whole first page of hits were all about how it is purely from humans. I don’t mean that they just didn’t mention that animals do it too, I mean that for example in a page about “all the causes of rainforest destruction” every single cause is from humans.

          Also just checked my science text. In the chapter on “Preserving the Earth” it is all about how we are doing all the damage. Kind of like a lie of omission and all that.

          • Flippant

            Okay, Me.. but I was talking about more on an individual personal level.

            Like, whichever country you’re from, is there at least some instances that you know of where animal damage is a problem?

            Of the top of my head I can think of two. We’ve been banned from grazing our cattle in the high country due to the destruction it causes (even though they clear out a lotta dry grasses which is a big plus during bushfire season). Also, there’s camels doing a helluva lotta damage in the outback, and causing real problems.

            That’s two.. just off the top of my head. If I was to hit up Google I bet I could come up with a bucketload more instances of animals wreaking havoc on the environment around here.

            And that’s what I mean – I don’t know how a country/peoples wouldn’t know of some destruction that animals do.. that, as far as they’re aware, and what the media tells them, is that it’s just humans doing all the damage.

          • Maggot

            where animal damage is a problem…Of the top of my head I can think of two. We’ve been banned from grazing our cattle in the high country due to the destruction it causes (even though they clear out a lotta dry grasses which is a big plus during bushfire season). Also, there’s camels doing a helluva lotta damage in the outback, and causing real problems.

            Sorry Flip, I would consider both of those examples – overgrazing of domestic cattle and the introduction of a non-native species – to be “human caused”.

          • Flippant

            Maggy, I didn’t say roos because, they’re doing hella damage, but it’s only on our grazing land, grass, and maybe that shouldn’t technically count here.

            overgrazing of domestic cattle

            And what? We have cattle that need to eat. We’ve got back-lot land that they can go feed on. Run them up high.. leave them to fatten on grass.. round them up.

            Now, yeah.. cattle are a “domestic” animal and they do their damage. And it’s NOT “over grazing”.. they’re treading the place to sh*t. Just like the camels – introduced species that we shouldn’t really give two ish’s about.

            Maggy, it’s not any over grazing (with cattle).. and just because it’s an “introduced” species doesn’t mean that they don’t count in the damage. They’re, more often than not, the main offender. ;)

          • Maggot

            it’s not any over grazing (with cattle).. and just because it’s an “introduced” species doesn’t mean that they don’t count in the damage. They’re, more often than not, the main offender.

            Well sure, those animals physically DO directly cause the damage, no denying that. I’m just saying that they wouldn’t be causing it if not for the unnatural human manipulation or corruption of the natural order of the ecosystem in the first place. Ergo “human caused”. A point of semantics for sure, but I thought it appropriate to differentiate the two in the context of this particular discussion point. Not saying I agree 100% with Me/FG either though.

        • Flobbadob

          it’s not that there is a country where everyone thinks that animals dont destroy stuff, tho maybe there is a countr like that i dont know, but the media do kind of nearly always just give examples of what people do and dont mention the animal things. like tv news and newspapers and stuff. go read a paper and check.

          • Flippant

            but the media do kind of nearly always just give examples of what people do and dont mention the animal things.

            I disagree with this. I’m always seeing/hearing about the animal things.. maybe even moreso than the human things.

            Maybe it depends on where you’re from then.. I guess. Were, barely allowed to cut down a tree here without permission.. you wanna clear some land – permission.

            like tv news and newspapers and stuff. go read a paper and check.

            I read the paper daily.. watch news most days too. I still disagree with what the Gibbon and yourself are saying about that though. :P

      • Maggot

        @ FunkyGibbon: We do cause a lot of damage, but so does every other animal in its own way. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do anything about it, just pointing out that it’s natural.

        The difference is that humans cause damage at an unnaturally accelerated rate, a rate that exceeds the environment’s ability to recover. When a non-human species damages their environment or habitat, their population naturally declines, thus allowing the environment to recover, and the population grows again. It’s a natural cycle of balance that has been established over the millennia. Obviously there are exceptions, as countless species have become “naturally” extinct before the advent of Man, and I’m not talking about one-time catastrophes like meteor hits either. But a lot of the time it is still caused by things outside their own doing, such as the example you gave, or climate change or whatever. Still “natural” of course, but outside the scope of what we are talking about here, which is “self-induced” damage. So to that regard, humans are permanently (relatively speaking) damaging their environment beyond the point of species sustainability, and yet the population continues to grow, and average individual life spans continue to increase…which of course can’t continue forever, but it could likely continue much longer if humans’ consumption of resources occurred at a more “natural” pace.

        • Flippant

          Being from your State you should know too – the land needs to burn and decimate to regenerate. Sad.. but it does and will. See, this is our lot in relation to encroaching the animals – we burn.

  • Zair

    Wonderful list I have always found elephants interesting and its sad to know that there endangered:(

    • bluesman87

      Me too, to think that my children one day might grow up not knowing what an elephant tastes like :-(

  • Vicki

    I watched a documentary about a herd of elephants. One of them was killed by poachers, and the herd came back and they stood in a circle around the body. Then one by one they touched the body with their trunks, and then pulled some leaves over it, and then they left. It was so sad.

  • Lucinda

    Oh my goodness this list is so cool. It makes me smile.

  • Fact #11 – We can be annoyed. :)

    Fantastic list, and not just because I’m a Republican. Elephants are awesome, beautiful creatures with wonderful minds and lives. The fact that we’ve hunted many species to extinction or near-extinction is proof of our own inhumanity.

    That inhumanity, in fact, is one reason I don’t like GoDaddy. Bob Parsons should be tried for poaching, IMO.

    • name

      I have no idea what your political affiliation has to do with anything but way to go injecting it superfluously.

      • Maybe because the symbol of the Republican Party, and my avatar, is an elephant.

        Way to go on missing that minor point.

        • name

          My phone doesn’t show your little avatar pic, buddy. To a non-american, the fact that your group has an elephant for a symbol is far from common knowledge.

          Way to go on assuming everyone is from your country.

          • notamericanenough

            and rather than take the time to learn about american political parties (or get a better phone) you take the easy way out and criticize the guy. Talk about Americans being to self centered and self important to learn about other cultures.

            He made a comment that’s all, he didn’t assume everyone was from his country, I’m sure he doesn’t even care if you understood it or not

          • Flippant

            rather than take the time to learn about american political parties

            LoL! Wtf? Did you, in all seriousness, just say that? Unbelievable! Now why, in the Sam hell, would any foreigner really want to familiarise themselves with individual American political parties? It’s not like we’ve gotta yell to Ma to hold onto her hat ‘coz the circus is a-comin’ to town. :D

          • I Mean Come On

            Elephant, Name, and Enough, you are all being needlessly nasty.

            I’m from the UK and read Elephant’s original comment before seeing the avatar. It also seemed to me to be a pointlessly political comment. Still, it did not warrant a snarky reply.

            Enough, I hope that you are just really bad at delivering unfunny jokes. If you seriously believe what you said then you are delirious.

            All of these replies were nasty and none was at all warranted or sensible.

            Grow up.

          • Flippant

            Elephant, Name, and Enough, you are all being needlessly nasty.

            Welcome to the interwebs.. I hope you enjoy your stay. *smiles sweetly* :)

            I’m from the UK

            You poor thing.. sorry. *rubs your back* :(

            Still, it did not warrant a snarky reply.

            HEY! Again, welcome to the Internet.. snarky replies are a specialty. Warranted? Hell, are you that Dog fella? No one gots a warrant in these here parts, and we’re all running anyways. Go figure. ;)

            I hope that you are just really bad at delivering unfunny jokes.

            BLLAAASSSSPPPHEEEMMMER!! Lol don’t make me get some voodoo on your arse! I gotta the pins.. I just need the doll. Hush! :lol:

            All of these replies were nasty and none was at all warranted or sensible.

            What? It’s just two people. You need to sit down and read properly. “All of these replies”?? They (Name) replied TWICE and one of which we’re waiting for an Elephantabulous reply to the situation.

            Hush your drama mouth, sit down, and watch proceedings. The whole Internet is one big social experiment.. observe.

            Grow up.

            Never! Why should anybody? I reckon I’m gonna be as immature as all hell when I’m in my 90’s. I’ll be that granma, photobombing, flipping the bird. Im kinda old-ish.. and I still hold onto my childish ways. It’s amusing.. and I love to laugh. :lol:

          • @name: I didn’t know you were posting from a phone, much less what model, browser, or carrier you’re using, much less whether or not you’re from this country or not… and didn’t make any presumptions otherwise, other than presuming that the avatars are visible.

            Way to go on… well, everything.

    • Flippant

      Lol *feels tension mounting* :D

      • Flippant

        Oi! And “Tension” isn’t my dog’s name either! :P

        • Flippant

          *commentates from the sidelinse* Hey-oh! A new player has suddenly waded into the mix. Looks like things could get even more interesting.. we might have a two-against-one tag team situation set up to go on now. Lol I’d better go make a comment and set the balance real quick. :lol:

          • Flippant

            *pics up mic again* Aaaaaannnnd another one has waded into the fray. Looks like they’re trying to use logic. Lol not good.. I’ll go try stamp this out real quick so we can get back to the main event – two people silly bickering. Be right back! *drops mic* :lol:

    • dizit

      Fantastic list, and not just because I’m a… Flying elephant!

      • Flippant

        Flying elephant!

        Lol Dizz. ;)

        *coughs*

        Dumbo? :D

        • dizit

          It was going to be either Dumbo or Babar. I liked the idea of a flying elephant better! :D

          • Flippant

            I liked the idea of a flying elephant better!

            Lol yeah, Dizz, but.. *squeezes your hand tightly*.. the ideas that we liked better never came into fruition ( :( ) . :D

          • dizit

            .. the ideas that we liked better never came into fruition

            Speak for yourself Flip ;)

  • PS: JFrater? Toss Flamehorse… pay this woman money for her lists. She is a perfect example of quality, intelligent lists versus flamewar fodder.

  • reg

    I always get confused about how Listverse decides which category to put some lists in. This could easily be “Fact and Fiction” or “Science and Nature”. There are some lists that fit into more than 2 categories as well…

    But good job with the elephants. Awesome animals.

  • Lifeschool

    Really great list. I guess some animals die simply to feed the fantasy world of old folk tales which passes for ‘traditional’ chinese ‘medicine’. The only debunking list missing from the LV would concern this. As far as I know, elephant tusks and rhino horn contain Keratin and perhaps Calcium – both of which are available far more easily in carrots and dairy products. And looking at an earlier list – Tiger peni – those contain ZERO nutritional benefits except a very small amount of protein and gristle. I’m sorry, but I really get very angry at the ‘innocent’ chinese who singlehandedly destroyed the elephant, rhino and tiger just for the sake of a few FAKE! aphrodisiacs. You people ever try Ginko Biloba? or better yet, Viagra?? Ignorance is not bliss.

    Research links:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/14/china

    http://www.international-animalrescue-foundation….

    • Flippant

      Your links are busted, Lifeschool.

      • Maggot

        Well now, lookie here.

    • Check

      Elephant tusks are made of bone and therefore consist of calcium, hydroxyapatite, and collagen, like the bones of all vertebrates.

      Rhino horns are made of the same substance as fingernails, keratin, which is NOT carotene as found in carrots (pronounced similarly, but no other strong relation).

      It has been illegal for35 years to poach tigers in China and to use them for medicine. Traditional medicine does not use tigers – it is more the recent pseudo-traditional medicine that is sold to foreigners. They have had their own aphrodisiacs for thousands of years that use herbs. Further, since they have become endangered, more tigers have been bred at Chinese breeding centres than in any other country.

      Rhinos are also illegal to poach but nevertheless are killed, illegally, almost exclusively in Africa for use there, not in China.

      A lot of your facts are incorrect, and you seem to want to blame the endangerment of many animals on China. Yes there are people in China who break the law and kill endangered animals, as in many other countries. I cannot speak for rhinos, but one of the biggest threats to wild tigers after deforestation (which is being reduced due to the one-child policy in China anyway) is them being illegally captured and sold to foreigners as exotic pets. So we are doing quite a lot of damage ourselves.

      But you know, it is always easier to just blame another country for everything than to look up any facts on your own…

      • GREAT POST! You’ve done a great job at giving all of us better information, and your post is an example for future listmakers to do a better job. Thank you!

      • Flippant

        Elephant tusks are made of bone

        Elephant tusks are made of ivory.. which I’m pretty sure is different from bone. Else our bones would be called “ivory” intead of.. well.. bones. :)

        • ivoree

          Ivory is made of dentin which is a type of bone.

          • Flippant

            Lol *hesitantly argues technical ish I don’t really know about, my ridiculous forest coverage error from last week at the forefront of my mind* :lol:

            Hmmm.. I don’t think so, Ivoree. From what I can tell, it appears that dentin and bone are two different substances.

            When I type in “Is dentin a type of bone?”, the sites that Mr. Google is spitting out to me say that they’re not, in fact, the same thing (type of).

            So, like our teeth aren’t made of bone.. I, at this stage, am gonna lean towards ivory not being a type of “bone.”

            Your move. :D

          • Ivoree

            Dentin and bone are both composed of the same substances, but in slightly different ratios, and more importantly, they are arranged in different structures. Like how diamonds and coal are both made of carbon, but the arrangement is different in each one.

            http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/72/8/1222 (if you as big of a nerd as me)

            There is no agreement as to whether dentin is a subtype of bone or not among the people who study these things, so I guess you could say either way goes?

          • Flippant

            There is no agreement as to whether dentin is a subtype of bone or not among the people who study these things, so I guess you could say either way goes?

            Mmm nahhh, Ivoree.. we won’t say “either way goes.”

            Are you really gonna make me go Google a hundred sites saying that they’re not the same substance, based on your link saying “maybe, maybe not”?

            Including common sense, you’re tip-toeing on thin ice, sistah. ;)

            Check. Your Move. :D

  • Steve

    Why mention homosexual elephants under Reproduction? Homosexual pairs do not reproduce. Just an observation…

    • LukeS

      It also mentioned baby elephants sucking their trunks, which also has little to do with reproduction, but you seem to have missed that due to your focus or obsession on the homoexual bit. Now why could that be? ;)

      • Closet

        Lol someone’s a closet!

      • st

        It could be because, well, homosexual elephants don’t reproduce, eh? That means they don’t produce those trunk-sucking younguns. So why include them under reproduction? I think it would have been better to have a separate section describing the homosexual population amoñg elephants.
        Like I said, I was just voicing my opinion. Don’t get yer knickers in a twist.

  • tebs

    Interesting list – I think I read somewhere that elephants are the only animals with 4 knees, in other words their front legs have patelas (knee caps) and articulate backwards instead of elbow joints which articulate forwards.

    • Sam

      OK, I knew the 4 kneecaps one, but what exactly do you mean about articulating backwards vs forwards? If you go into a quadrupedal position, your elbows will bend backwards, just like an elephant’s front legs do. They have patellas there, but don’t they bend the same way as our elbows?

      Can you explain please? Thanks!

  • ron

    Loved this list!!! I’m a sucker for animal trivia. Thank you so much! :-)

  • S

    Really enjoyed this list, fascinating and beautiful animals in many ways. Best list I’ve read here in a long time.

  • Elllll-e-pahnts! El-e-phants! Elllll-e-phants! El-e-phants! (Now I’m doing that thing with my right arm that mimics an elephant’s nose.) Elllll-e-pahnts! El-e-phants! Elllll-e-phants! El-e-phants!

  • acc

    Great list!

  • AussieNik

    LOL you left out the main fact, elephants arent from africa they from New Zeeland!! just look at any kiwi woman, LMFWAO!!!! Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi!!!!1

  • GrammerNazi

    *Squints eyes* Can’t tell if the picture in #4 is back of elephant or front.

    • Flippant

      LMFAO! You’re terrible, Grammer! :lol:

  • bob

    do check this http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Article.aspx?ID=4275. This is about african elephant and their sense of smell. the are actually being trained to remove landmines etc.

    • Flippant

      Thanks for that link, Bob.. a cool read. Shows just how intelligent the big beasts are. Sounds like a great day out too.. I definitely wants to do! :)

  • Letonshia

    I lol’d.

  • Magnumto

    Another absolutely excellent list by Kate Mulcahy! Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to entertain us!

    • Flippant

      Ditto. Thanks, Kate! :)

  • Killbilly Deluxe

    Yes that’s all fine and good but what about Snuffleupagus?

    This list is incomplete!

  • Eicg

    What a great list! They are amazing animals!

  • segues

    I’m just going to say the same basic thing as everyone else, Great list, Kate!

  • Maggot

    Really an informative and enjoyable list, Kate. I enjoyed it. Man you’re just cranking them out!

  • Sillyperson14

    You said, “Elephants, humans, and Neanderthals are the only animals known to have death rituals.” but that’s not true, crows do too.

    • Srsly?

      Really?

      Can you give a source?

      • segues

        Sillyperson14
        have death rituals.” but that’s not true, crows do too.
        Srsly?
        Really?

        I wondered about that too, so I did a bit of Googling and found this:

        Animal behaviour expert Dr Bekoff, of the University of Colorado had an encounter with four magpies alongside a magpie corpse as proof that animals have a ‘moral intelligence’.

        We salute you: Birds such as this yellow-billed magpie may have a more sympathetic side to their character than their notoriously harsh image
        ‘One approached the corpse, gently pecked at it, just as an elephant would nose the carcass of another elephant, and stepped back,’ he said. ‘Another magpie did the same thing.
        Next, one of the magpies flew off, brought back some grass and laid it by the corpse. Another magpie did the same. Then all four stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off.’

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1221754/Magpies-grieve-dead-turn-funerals.html#ixzz1oHPcf9R6

        • Flippant

          Lol Segues, you’re abusing the bold text. Don’t make me regret giving you power! :lol:

          • segues

            eh. You’re just jealous because I figured out how to do bold italics :)

          • mom424

            hehe, looks like you’ve created a monster Flippant. A fairly innocuous monster, but a monster none the less. With great power comes great responsibility.

          • segues

            fairly innocuous monster, but a monster none the less

            cute, Mom ;)

        • Flippant

          Then all four stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off.

          I get swooped daily in Summer by an angry magpie. I like magpies and all, but I hope that one develops some kind of magpie leprosy and its wings drop off. :D

          • segues

            H1N1 Bird Flu hahahahahahahaha

  • Vanowensbody

    Great list. Well written.

  • Aericanwizard

    Wonderful list! I love elephants, and knew some of the points, but I always love learning more. Well done! Giraffes next?

  • Majaev

    Bonus factoids: Elephants never forget, and are afraid of mice.

    • Mendeleev

      I can’t tell if you’re a troll or if you really believe those ‘facts’.

      • jacaris

        I think it was a joke

  • Jose’ Ermilindo Sepulveda

    It is a very good thing (for me) that I have never encountered a final exam question in which I was asked how many elephant species there are extant, because I would surely have answered “two”. You’re CERTAIN there are three????? I’m sure you are and this is fascinating stuff……..thank you so much for the addition to my store of trivia!

    • Armadillo

      Like it said, they only realised there were 3 in 2010. Wiki gives a fairly succinct summary. The two African species can’t produce fertile offspring, so that makes them distinct species. There are loads of subspecies postulated, and some people think there may be more than 3 proper species, but 3 is where we are right now. In the future, who knows.

      This list was full of elephant trivia. Each item had several interesting little tidbits. I love this kind of list :)

  • ringtailroxy

    Concerning the picture for #1…

    All the paintings of objects by elephants are the result of training. It is not as if an elephant was shown how to hols a paintbrush, dip it in paint, and then it perfectly recreated a caricature of another elephant.

    • Lemur

      Yeah, but a person who had never seen paintings or drawings or anything before likewise wouldn’t be able to paint proper pictures first off. The elephants are trained by a calligrapherist (not sure if that’s the word) who guides them through painting various objects over and over until the elephants can do them well. Then the elephants begin to vary the pictures on their own and paint their own works. So yes they have been shown what to do, moreso than some people perhaps (although less than my 5 yr old brother… he still can’t manage a decent circle), but once they know what to do they paint their own variants and subjects just like people.

      There was one case of an elephant who had worked out what the word ‘paint’ meant and would get all excited when her handlers said it, and rush over to the painting area to wait for them to set everything up. Other things that elephants are trained to do they don’t pick up on and get ready for on their own accord like this – that elephant must just really enjoy painting.

  • Jen

    I just found out you can buy elephant artwork online! As in, painted by the elephants themselves, not paintings of elephants by humans. Ahh if only it wasn’t so expensive though… My mum would love something like that.

  • Fun

    It’s getting to the point that I load listverse and see the author of today’s article is kate mulchy and I go “ahh, good, this will be a really interesting article full of great facts and well written” as opposed to some others, where I feel apprehensive because they are often more opinion-based or the facts are just plain wrong.

    Keep em’ coming, oh author!

  • Jessica

    I love elephants.

  • grey_fox

    I would never see an elephant the same way before. A very nice, eye-opener list.

  • Christine Vrey

    I didn’t want it to end!!! Thank you very much, it was a great list!!

  • Peter

    Jumbo in swahili means large

  • Oland

    One of the best lists ever!

  • E2E

    More Elephant lists! This was such a good one!

  • Jim

    I never realized how awesome elephants were. Great list.

  • weehunk

    What I was hoping you would talk about is their mental stability. My understanding is that the Asian Elephants are more prone to going crazy and start killing people. Of course it may also be related to how well they are treated.

    • billy

      Pretty sure that’s coz of how they’re treated.

    • segues

      Not just how they, themselves, are treated but also whether or not they’ve witnessed the brutal treatment and/or death of relatives and friends/herdmates. The destruction of their environment, as well as having their range reduced in size until the stress of overcrowding and lack of adequate food also plays a big part.
      They react kind of like we do, with depression and anger.

  • Maverick

    Good list. Very interesting. I just loved the part where you say “His health had been steadily declining for years, and when he was hit by a train going at full speed he could not recover, dying soon after.” I laughed. Kind of like saying, “Yeah, he had been battling cancer for two years. In the end, it was that stray bullet during a Kwiki Mart robbery that finally got ’em!” Good list nonetheless.

    • Edward

      Other elephants have been hit by trains without death- a stronger elephant might have survived?

      But him getting sick is significant to his story. People knew he was going to die soon and had prepared for it – they even bidded over who would get to taxidermy him and display his body. So when he died they were ready for it.

  • Gogo

    No mention of forest elephants (that were hunted to extinction by the heirs of Alexander)?

    • segues

      from #10: … and the African forest elephant loxodonta cyclones..

      Did you even bother to read the entries, or just scan the titles of each?

      from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Forest_Elephant

      The African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is a forest dwelling elephant of the Congo Basin. Formerly considered either a synonym or a subspecies of the African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana)…

      re your claim that the forest elephant was “hunted to extinction by the heirs of Alexander“. Nonsense! Not only were most of the elephants used by Alexander and his heirs Indian elephants, which are still in existence (as are African Forest elephants), most of his heirs also used Indian elephants.

  • Juri Han

    A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

    The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant’s foot.

    There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.

    As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

    The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen — thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

    Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

    Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail.

    The large bull elephant stared at him and lifted it’s front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn’t help wondering if this was the same elephant.

    After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.

    The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

    Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man’s legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

    Probably wasn’t the same elephant.

    • Juri Han

      Btw, I’m being facetious in posting this story; I know it’s not real. XD Just thought it was hilarious.

      • Mol

        That is awesome! And here I thought it was going to be like that mouse and elephant story.

  • Loxodonta

    I never realized how many other people like elephants until I saw how many facebook likes this list has.

  • qw0rtz

    So many mistakes in this list.

    The Asian elephant is called Elephas maximus, not Alphas maximus. The forest elephant is called Loxodonta cyclotis, not cyclones. And please write the genus in capital letters.

    The forest elephant is the smallest species, not the Asian elephant.

    Mammutidae does NOT include elephants and mammoths, but only the mastodon. The family of elephants and mammoths is called Elephantidae.

    • Jerk

      It is not standard to write genus with capitals. I think you mean ‘capitalise’. They’re different words.

      Spell check automatically changes ‘elephas’ to ‘alphas’. Quite a lot of similar problems occur in other lists because of this. I don’t think it was an error on the author’s part.

      The maximum height recorded of an Asian elephant is higher than the average forest elephant, but on average forest elephant bulls are 2.5m whereas Asian elephants are 2.4m. So they are (narrowly) smaller.

      Mammutidae probably should be Elephantidae, yes. It looks like even a broken clock is right once in a while.

  • lusciouzsecret

    I unquestionably absorbed a thing or two concerning elephants today:D

  • Ronk

    #7 starts off by saying that so-called “elephant graveyards” are a myth, and yet it then goes on to regurgitate the myth anyway. This is supposed to be a list of facts. Please show me a video of wild elephants digging a grave and burying a dead elephant (or a dead anything or anyone else). Until then I will continue to be convinced it is nonsense.

    • Leez

      Elephant graveyards are legends of a far off place that, when an elephant senses it is dying, they will separate from their herd and go there to die. As opposed to what the list says – they die with their herd who then bury them. It’s an easy distinction. Maybe you had heard a different elephant graveyard myth so you got confused?

      It’s odd that you read something that you adamantly disagree with, but do not wish in any way to verify it, instead demanding that others bring you proof rather than spending a few minutes on Google yourself. Then again, based on your elephant graveyard remark, I feel your abilities of comprehension are probably a barrier for you in these sorts of things.

      Perhaps this is too technical for you, but here is a scientific paper on how an elephant herd behaved when one of their members died:
      http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/applan/article/S0168-1591(06)00101-8/abstract

      Although there is a wealth of information about elephant burials on Wikipedia if you can be bothered… YouTube came up with quite a few hits as well…

  • Ronk

    Leez, far from being “too technical” that is not technical enough. (I myself am a tertiary educated scientist, but it’s always appereciated to receive some cheap patronising remarks from an anonymous netizen who doesn’t know me from Adam.) The very short abstract which is the only information available to non-subscribers is packed chock full of anthropomorphising terms claiming to somehow be able to read an elephant’s mind and know that it is thinking and feeling “concerned, aware, curious, specially interested, compassionate”.

    I don’t bother with the nonsense-riddled wikipedia or Youtube thanks all the same.

    And no, the onus is not on me to disprove the author’s claim. The person who makes a claim bears the onus of proving the truth of it, especially in an article titled “Facts” and especially where the claim is extraordinary.

    • Drew

      So every list here needs to be edited to be full of citations? That would take years. This list alone would need hundreds…

      Every fact on this list is easily Googled if you don’t like Wikipedia. And, to reiterate what the one above said, the author himself does not contradict anything when it comes to elephant graveyards. Your issue, it seems, is simply that you do not believe something that was stated but you feel it is the author’s duty to prove it to you.

      This is a site of unusual and interesting trivia. It is not a textbook or scientific paper. If it were, it would be appropriate to cite everything. As it is not, such a thing is far from necessary.

      As you are an academic, you will be fully aware that when reviewing other papers for publication you cannot simply state “false” but must give a reference as to why something is false, e.g. you possess contradictory evidence, the primary evidence is corrupted, or the cited secondary evidence is unreliable.

      In a scientific setting, you must give a reason for your disbelief, beyond “I think it is nonsense” or “it doesn’t sit well with my opinions”. Then the author, if he so wishes, responds appropriately. This is very much an informal setting, where it would certainly be nice if the author cited everything, but such is obviously impractical. The author has no such onus, especially when information supporting his statement is so very easily available.

      If you don’t want to believe something, fine. But either look it up and support yourself, or don’t go yelling about how rubbish it is.

      • Jumbo Sized

        Don’t waste your time, mate. He’s probably a troll.

        No ‘scientist’ could be that stupid in real life. Betcha $20 he’s a gradeschool kid with security issues.

    • Lol Cat Man

      quick, we need to find proof for every statement in every list with the word “facts” in the title!!!

      dude, there are probably hundres of thousands of facts. this isn’t some kind of hardcore science site. Even wiki is more hardcore but apparently its not good enough for you. and yet here you are.

      get a grip (and a life).

  • Ronk

    Drew, if as you claim that is the purpose of this site, then I suggest that the authors stop using titles “ten facts about …” and instead title their lists “ten bits of overheard trivia, urban myths or factoids which may or may not be true about ….”

    I’m not “yelling” anything or even rubbishing anything. Merely pointing out one contradictory statement in the author’s entire article and expressing doubts about one of her claims. I’m sorry that you are so ultra-sensitive on herbehalf that you take such extraordinary offence at my very mild comment.

    I won’t bother responding to the puerile personal abuse by the other two commenters yesterday.

    • Gronk

      He’s still going?? That’s cute.

      • Mama Bear

        Sssh. He missed his nap time and now he’s all cranky.

    • Drew

      “This is a site of unusual and interesting trivia.”
      “if as you claim that is the purpose of this site” so even a basic statement which is the same as what listverse itself says https://listverse.com/about/ is still a claim that only might be true? I think I am beginning to understand why you will not believe facts that are easily verified.

      The authors don’t get to choose their titles, the webmaster does.

      This is one of the more factual lists on listverse. Many others are titled as facts but quite openly admit to containing opinions and myths. It seems you have not spent much time on this site.

      I still am having trouble working out where the contradictory statement is that you refer to. As explained above, the myth of elephant graveyards is quite different to what elephants actually do.

      I’ve spent enough time replying. I can’t stand people who don’t read things properly, but I think your problem is a little more than that. I am becoming convinced you are a troll, or an approximation of one.

      • Kate Mulcahy

        Drew, mate! You owe me $20!!! “I won’t bother responding to the puerile personal abuse by the other two commenters yesterday.” yeah right. If he really didn’t care, why would he say that? He just wouldn’t have said anything. Boy oh boy read the rest of his stuff. He’s really up on a high horse. Trouble is he can’t see it aint got no legs!

        Betcha another $20 he is forced, like every other kid with massive insecurities, to have the last word here. “I only meant that…” and “what about blah that I am right about?” and those sorts of things.

        Betcha my last $20 he makes another “purile personal abuse” one :D they’re my favorite!

        • KateFan

          There are a few fakes floating around, but you’re not even trying. ‘Kate Mulcahy’ indeed.

  • Ronk

    Drew, if as you claim, the author intended this article to be merely a list of myths, but that the webmaster against her will titled it “facts” then she is rather foolish to agree to write the article under such oppressive editorial conditions as to totally misrepresent her intentions.

    However it is plain that your claim is incorrect, as the great majority of her other statements in this article are indeed provable facts. It is only regarding the supposed elephant burial rites that she has made a serious error of fact.

    I suggest it is you who is not reading things properly here. And just to humour you, I carefully read through all of the source articles which you so helpfully referenced, and their references. Some interesting anecdotes there.

    However firstly, the plural of “anecdote” is not “scientific data”.

    Secondly the anecdotes (all of them second hand reports, no recorded observations) refer only to reported instances where elephants supposedly dropped discarded branches and foliage onto a dead body. Not to elephants supposedly digging a “grave” and “burying” it as alleged.

    Thirdly in one of these very anecdotes the subject of the supposed “burial” got up and walked away!

    Fourthly and most importantly, it is a huge and totally unfounded leap of logic to jump from “elephants bury their dead” to “they do so for the same reasons which men do”! Such emotive anthropomorphism has nothing to do with the “facts” of zoology or of any other science.

    In any case, it is by no means universal among men that dead bodies are buried. In many cultures it was and still is considered that the respectful and religious thing to do is to burn them, or embalm them and put them on display, let the flesh rot off in a large chamber and then box up the bones, or even leave the bodies exposed in the open air to be eaten by wild animals! (If you don’t believe me look up “Parsis”.) Such cultures actually consider it most DISrespectful and sacreligious to bury a dead body.

    “Kate”, please point out anywhere on this site, or any other site, where I hace ever said “I only meant that…” and “what about blah that I am right about?”

    I bet you $20 that you are falsely putting words into my mouth. If you disagree with something I said, then present arguments against it. Please don’t create a strawman to attack me for something I didn’t say.

    • FAIL

      COMPREHENSION FAIL!!!!!!

    • e3

      oh my god, this guy’s serious, isn’t he?

      • grey_fox

        Yep, this guy is so dead serious.. This guy’s out there somewhere having a personal mission to prove to the world that sometimes, elephants have more common sense than human beings. Just saying..

        • waldo

          Grey fox, it looks like you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Hes certainly doing a great job of it!

  • Ronk

    Ah, yes, the classic last desperate gasp lines of those whose argument has been comprehensively disproved:

    “But…but…but.. it’s just COMMON SENSE… yeah that’s it, common sense!”

    and

    “but… but…but… oh, you just don’t UNDERSTAND… you can’t use logic, you’ve just got to FEEL what is the truth.”

    Hilarious to see. Compensates for the tiresomeness of the countless internet claims listed as “facts” when what is really meant is “this would be really cool if it were true, so let’s pretend that it is true.”

    • grey_fox

      hahahahahaha.. see what i mean? lolz

  • craig

    Reblogged this on Africa or Bust! and commented:
    Things are a little quieter for us on the blog front while we’re between African trips, so we thought we’d share the occasional outside piece with you. Hope you enjoy.

  • MaryGrace

    elephents are the biggest animals i ever saw in my life!!!!!

  • Madeline Ragg

    I love Elephants

  • Madeline Ragg

    I love elephants because I have a toy elephant I no 7 facts.

  • Umar

    nice

  • James

    Some things i found out mainly i knew all of them.

  • lontubu peter

    Elephant are like humans coz they have blood presure

    • Elephant are like humans coz they have blood presure

      Everything with a heart beating blood has blood pressure.

  • KUSBOO

    HI PLACK

  • katie

    Elephants are cute.

  • bannana

    this is a cool website haha not really

  • ta

    in my geography lesson we are leraning about endangered elephants

  • emily

    i was wondering how mant elephnats are left in 2013