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This year I’ve been hearing this:

But I should be doing this:


Elephants are one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet and have a great sense of humour/irony:

The Profound Intelligence and Intuition of Elephants


by ericfein
in Lifestyle · Philosophy
— 14 Nov, 2012

Pic: abcnews.go.com. They mourn their dead.


Everyday, biologists are realizing with greater clarity that we are not the only self-aware and/or highly intelligent species on the planet. Many animals even score drastically higher on tests dealing with memory, language, and problem solving skills.

Elephants are one of these exceptionally intelligent species. What is especially interesting about elephants is that they seem to have an extraordinary intuition as well.

Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa known as the elephant whisperer, spent his entire life saving animals and rehabilitating elephants. On March 7, 2012, Anthony died, and something incredible occurred.

Two days after his death, wild herds of elephants, 31 in total, visited Anthony’s home to say goodbye. These elephants walked over 12 miles to reach his house in South Africa. The elephants, who had not been to the house in over 3 years or more, somehow knew exactly when Anthony had passed away and came to pay their respects. The elephants carried such profound emotional gratitude for this man, their friend, that they remained at his house for 2 days and 2 nights without eating any food. Then, they simply walked back home.

When will we shed our ignorance and choose sight over blindness? When will the nonsense end? We are just animals, and we are sharing this hunk of rock and water with trillions of other separate forms of life. Drop the ego and realize that our actions affect more than just ourselves.

Elephants know the meaning of love

Pic © Dianna Sarto/Corbis.

A culture is no better than its woods.” – W.H. Auden

A society is no better than its zoos.” – Wondergressive

An animal is no better than the way it treats other animals.” – Wondergressive

They’re Matriarchal Because They Know Better


Elephants are known for their superior intelligence as well as their structured social order. One of the main characteristics of the social order in the herd is that males and females live entirely different and separate lives.

Elephants are a matriarchal society; that is, one that is led by a head cow, who presides over her herd of females. Each herd is made up of mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts. They are guided by the oldest and largest female of the herd. This herd sticks closely together, rejoicing at the birth of a calf and mourning at the death of a member.

The herd of females, although maintaining close bonds among themselves, also interacts well with other herds, families, and clans. An average herd of immediate family will comprise of 5 to 15 adult elephants as well as immature males and females. As the herd grows, some members split to form new herds. In this way, families are divided and allowed to expand outwards. However, these members never forget their family roots and commit much time and effort to keeping track of their relatives through vocal and non-vocal communication.

The male, on the other hand, lives apart from the matriarchal herd, and travels alone or with other males in a bachelor pod. The drift from the herd starts during adolescence, at which time the young bulls start to spend less and less time with the herd. Eventually, the break is made completely. After this distance is established, the bulls will live solitary lives, mingling with the females of the family only for mating purposes. The bonds between the males in a bachelor pod are loosely established and loyalty is fickle. Males will frequently fight with other bulls over dominance as only the strongest are able to mate with receptive females. This ensures strong, healthy calves. When males fight over dominance, there are usually few injuries, although the fighting seems quite violent to onlookers. It is only during the intense breeding season that these encounters become somewhat more intense.

Same-sex bonding is common in elephants. This is usually in the form of affectionate trunk-entwining, kissing and placing trunks into the other animal’s mouth. Males will actually mount one another. Unlike the fleeting encounter between a bull and a cow, this mounting will last for much longer and often consists of an older adult with one or two juvenile males.

When one male splits from all other company and becomes excessively aggressive and violent, he is known as the rogue male. He will usually win at any domination battles and, therefore, mate with more females than the other bulls. This means that his offspring are strong and that the herd enjoys fairly pure genes.

Because elephants enjoy such rigid social structures and norms, they are able to form close bonds with those within their immediate herd and family, with females benefitting particularly from this security. This allows an enormous degree of trust and sanctuary within the herd.

They’re Similar to Whales (Baby whales and cows called ‘calves’ too) In Their Amazing Methods of Communication

Excerpts from:


How elephants communicate:
Acoustic communication
Visual communication
Tactile communication
Seismic communication
Chemical communication

Acoustic communication
Acoustic (that is, sound) signals are omni directional (i.e. they travel in all directions) and can be broadcast to a large audience including intended and unintended listeners, and those in view and hidden from view. Being short-lived and deliberate, acoustic signals are useful for giving information about an immediate situation, rather than about a constant state. Through reflection, refraction and absorption, acoustic signals are degraded by the environment in ways that are often very much greater for high frequency sounds than for low frequency sounds. Elephants are specialists in the production of low frequency sound and in the use of long-distance communication.

Elephants produce a broad range of sounds from very low frequency rumbles to higher frequency snorts, barks, roars, cries and other idiosyncratic calls. Asian elephants also produce chirps. The most frequently used category of calls, at least for African elephants, is the very low frequency rumble. You can search for, listen to and read about numerous sounds through in the Multimedia Resources section – Call Types and Contexts.

To get a sense of the range of frequencies used by elephants it may be useful to compare them with the range used by people. A typical human male’s voice in speech fluctuates around 110 Hertz (Hz, or cycles per second), a female’s voice around 220 Hz and a child’s around 300 Hz. Among elephants, a typical male rumble fluctuates around an average minimum of 12 Hz (more than 3 octaves below a man’s voice), a female’s rumble around 13 Hz and a calf’s around 22 Hz.

In normal human speech, the vibration rate may vary over a 2:1 ratio, in other words over one octave, while a singers voice may have a range of over two octaves. By contrast, the fundamental frequency within a single elephant call may vary over 4 octaves, starting with a rumble at 27 Hz and grading into a roar at 470 Hz! Including the harmonics elephant calls may contain frequencies ranging over more than 10 octaves, from a low of 5 Hz to a high of over 10,000 Hz. Imagine a musical composition with some operatic elephants!

… [The rest of this section at the original article]

Seismic communication
Seismic energy transmits most efficiently between the 10 and 40 Hz – in the same range as the fundamental frequency and 2nd harmonic of an elephant rumble. It turns out that when an elephant rumbles a replica of the airborne sound is also transmitted through the ground. Elephant sounds have been measured as traveling at about 309 m per second through air and at about 248-264 m/sec through the ground.

Experiments carried out by Caitlin O’Connell and colleagues have shown that elephants are able to pick up these seismic signals, to orient in the direction that the vibrations come from and even to respond to them appropriately.

Elephants may be able to detect these seismic vibrations, or rayleigh waves, through two possible means, bone conduction and the use of massive ossicles of their middle ears or possibly by mechano-receptors in the toes or feet that are sensitive to vibrations. The tip of an elephant’s trunk has layers of cells called Pacinian corpuscles that are extremely sensitive to vibrations and it thought to be able to detect movement as subtle as Brownian motion. Pacinian corpuscles have also been found in the elephant foot – concentrated in the front and back (toes and heel area) dermal layer. Movements or vibrations deform the layers of Pacinian corpuscles, sending a nerve signal to the brain. Although these corpuscles are found in other mammals, too, they are particularly densely packed in the tip of an elephant’s trunk.


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