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Elephants
C. A. Spinage

Book Description | Reviews

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

List of colour plates xi
Acknowledgements xiii
Introduction xv
CHAPTER 1 Mysteries of the Past: The Origins of Elephants 1 Elephants in England
Elephant relatives
Fossils and fantasies
From fantasy to fact
Cradle of the elephants
Archaic ancestors
The greedy gomphotheres
Immodest minds and mastodons
The mighty mammoth
Enter the elephants
Extinction of the giants
Man, the great exterminator?
CHAPTER 2 The Elephants: Taxonomy and Distribution 24
An African mystery
Background to the African elephant
The decline of the African elephant
Background to the Asian elephant
CHAPTER 3 Nature's Great Masterpiece: Anatomy of the Elephant 41
Curious naturalists
Bridges and backbones
'A head of such huge bignesse'
A case of teeth
The elephant's baggy suit
The feet
The hand of the beast
The guts of a giant
The puzzle of the lungs
The liver
CHAPTER 4 From Aristotle to Benedict: Physiology and Functions 60
Elephants and LSD
The heat of a thousand men
An animal with two hearts
Elephants in the Arctic
Breathalysers and beer drinkers
An unexplained puzzle
An animal with four stomachs
So capable of understanding
Tears for Timur
The strength of a flea
CHAPTER 5 Mating and Growing Up: Reproduction and Growth 79
The private life of the elephant
The season of birth
The bull elephant
The cow elephant
Courtship and coquettes
Birth
Life of the calf
Perils of poaching
CHAPTER 6 Of Size, Sindbad and Cemeteries: Growth and Longevity 99
The giant of beasts
Not built for eternity
Life's game of chance
Drought, the great leveller
The legacy of Sindbad
Death of a matriarch
CHAPTER 7 Despicable Worms and Mighty Elephants: Diseases and Parasites 111
Homes for the humble
The elephant doctors
Piano keys and sudden death
Despicable worms
Of bots and Greek cuckolds
Of flies that bite
Elephant ticks
A peculiar louse
The mystery of the symbionts
Curious and curiouser
Tiny helpers
CHAPTER 8 Matriarchs and Musth: Social Behaviour of Elephants 128
Wise old cows
Helping others
Happy families
When elephants gather
The clan and the home range
Lords of the realm
Madness and musth
Elephant incontinence
When giants fight
Rumble-grumble
Tales the ears may tell
CHAPTER 9 Polyperchon's Predicament: Food and Feeding 153
Lessons from ancient Greece
The Billy Bunter of the bush
The Augean Stables
The food the elephant eats
Sowing as they reap
A life of eating
The mysterious elephants of Elgon
A trunk for a hand
CHAPTER 10 The Great Debate: Elephants and Trees 169
Creating havoc
The elephants' effects on trees
Destruction of the baobab
A problem in Asia?
The benefits of elephant tree-bashing
Fighting back
CHAPTER 11 The Elephant Casebook: Examples of Overpopulation 182
The Uganda problem
The story of Tsavo
The Serengeti story
Influence of lake levels
Botswana - a southern case history
CHAPTER 12 Did Elephants Once Rule Africa? Population Dynamics and Problems 197
Darwin's deduction
Living with too many elephants
Population dynamics
In balance with nature
The magic of migration
The home range
In conflict with man
Prodigal or prudent proboscideans?
CHAPTER 13 Ivory, the Teeth of Commerce: The Structure and Growth of Tusks 215
Mighty as the head is mighty
Growth and structure
Elephants and daisy patterns
Elephant forensics
An elephantine Dorian Gray
Conjuring tricks of nature
Mammoth ivory
CHAPTER 14 The Massacre of the Giants: The Ivory Trade 237
Four thousand years of slaughter
Africa's appalling Aceldama
Where did it all go to?
An Africa overview
Asian ivory
The crash
Why not kill elephants?
The graveyard of greed
CHAPTER 15 Anachronism or Wasted Asset? The Domestication of Elephants 264
An ancient arms race
Classical controversies
Ancient skills
Elephants in Britain
The myth of intractability
Accidents will happen
Using African elephants
The great elephant experiment
An invaluable animal
A use for African elephants
Appendix 1 Common and scientific names of plants mentioned in the text 287
Appendix 2 Gazetteer of parks and reserves 290
Select Bibliography 292
Index 306
The colour plate section can be found between pages 160-161

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File created: 7/11/2014

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