Playing Bach piano for a blind elephant


This video says about itself:

Bach on Piano for Blind Elephant

30 June 2018

Lam Duan is the name of an old blind elephant, her name means “Tree with Yellow Flowers”. Lam Duan has been blind most of her life. Lam Duan lives at Elephants World, Thailand.

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Baby African elephant’s first bath


This video says about itself:

Baby Elephant takes her First Bath | BBC Earth

14 June 2018

An elephant calf just a few days old has her first bath in the waterhole with her helpful nanny elephants – but climbing out is harder than getting in.

Elephant Family and Me: Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan travels to the spectacular Tsavo wilderness in Kenya to try to get closer than ever before to a wild elephant family. African elephants are among the most dangerous animals in the world, killing more people than lions or any other predator. But Gordon believes that elephants become dangerous only because of our actions towards them.

Elephant herd celebrates birth of baby


This video says about itself:

Elephant Herd Celebrates a New Born Calf | BBC Earth

10 June 2018

A new born elephant baby brings joy to the elephant herd.

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan travels to the spectacular Tsavo wilderness in Kenya to try to get closer than ever before to a wild elephant family. African elephants are one of the most dangerous animals in the world, killing more people than lions or any other predator. But Gordon believes that elephants become dangerous only because of our actions towards them.

British Conservative smears Grenfell disaster survivors


Elizabeth Campbell (left), the Conservative leader of the council linked to Grenfell Tower, who has condemned comments by former Conservative MP Victoria Borwick (right) that compared the west London community to ’gangs‘

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Former Kensington Tory MP was always ‘hostile’ towards community, says Grenfell group

FORMER Kensington Tory MP Victoria Borwick was condemned today by a Grenfell Tower justice group for her “hostile” attitude towards the community after she likened them to “gangs”.

Ms Borwick was reported by the Mail yesterday to have emailed then council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown to say that it would be hard to help the less wealthy residents of the borough because “rather like gangs, they don’t go into another territory.”

She added that a “lack of education” among the residents compounded confusion over circumstances surrounding the fire that killed 72 people.

Moyra Samuels of Justice 4 Grenfell told the Star that Ms Borwick’s disdain was to be expected considering her track record.

The title of this baroness is Lady Borwick.

More about Lady Borwick’s track record, apart from her smearing of survivors of a bloody disaster:

Sneakily, May, Leadsom and the Tories have decided to abandon their previous commitment to introducing a total ban on the ivory trade in Britain. They have done it after heavy lobbying from wealthy London antiques traders who have been pressing the Prime Minister hard to drop the ban.

The most powerful antique traders association is the British Antique Dealers’ Association. Its president is Lady Victoria Borwick, Tory MP for Kensington and long-term pal and ally of May.

On average, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and their population has fallen by almost a third in Africa since 2007. As I have warned in these pages before, the African elephant population is hurtling towards extinction in the wild.

The Lamiat Sabin article continues:

She said: “The comments from Victoria Borwick come as no surprise to many of us in North Kensington.

The disdainful and indifferent attitude of the council to the needs of the community before the fire happened is common knowledge.

“They have had a feudal attitude to North Kensington that has been exemplified in the closure or sell off of many community resources — like the Maxilla nursery and local library.

“Ms Borwick’s hostile attitude to Notting Hill Carnival has also revealed her fear and lack of knowledge of the local black and minority ethnic (BME) community, which is why she lost her seat.

“The only gang we see is the mafia that was the council cabinet.”

Kensington’s first ever Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, who unseated Ms Borwick less than a week before the fire, criticised her “shocking and repellent” comments towards constituents.

Conservative council leader Elizabeth Campbell condemned the comments as “completely wrong” and said she does not share her views.

She was quizzed about it on LBC radio today by Grenfell survivor Tiago Alves.

Ms Campbell took charge of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC) after Mr Paget-Brown quit following intense criticism over the fire.

‘There’s criminal complacency about the attitude to fire’. Fire Brigades Union leader MATT WRACK talks to the Star about the Grenfell inquiry, the firefighters’ pay freeze and the changing role of technology.

What prehistoric elephants ate


This video from the USA says about itself:

8 September 2015

Gomphotherium” is an extinct genus of proboscid that evolved in the Early Miocene of North America and lived about from 13.650—3.6 Ma.

The genus emigrated into Asia, Europe and Africa after a drop in sea level allowed them to cross over. It survived into the Pliocene, and its remains have been found in France, Germany, Austria, Kansas, Tennessee, Pakistan, Kenya and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

G. productum” is known from a 35-year-old male 251 cm tall weighing 4.6 t. Even larger is “G. steinheimense“, known from a complete 37-year-old male found in Mühldorf, Germany, it is 317 cm tall weighing 6.7 t. However, it had four tusks; two on the upper jaw and two on the elongated lower jaw. The lower tusks are parallel and shaped like a shovel and were probably used for digging up food from mud.

Unlike modern elephants, the upper tusks were covered by a layer of enamel. Compared to elephants, the skull was more elongated and low, indicating that the animal had a short trunk, rather like a tapir‘s. These animals probably lived in swamps or near lakes, using their tusks to dig or scrape up aquatic vegetation. In comparison to earlier proboscids, “Gomphotherium” had far fewer molars; the remaining ones had high ridges to expand their grinding surface.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Feeding habits of ancient elephants uncovered from grass fragments stuck in their teeth

May 17, 2018

A new study, led by scientists at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, China, including University of Bristol PhD student Zhang Hanwen, examined the feeding habits of ancient elephant relatives that inhabited Central Asia some 17 million years ago.

Professor Wang Shiqi from IVPP, the study’s senior author, said: “We found ancient elephant teeth in the Junggar Basin, in China’s far North West and they belong to two species, Gomphotherium connexum, and the larger G. steinheimense.”

Zhang Hanwen, from Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, added: “Gomphotherium was most obviously different from modern elephants by its very long lower jaw that still had lower tusks.

“It also had a shorter, more elongate, barrel-like body shape compared to modern elephants. In essence, a small elephant with short legs.”

Professor Wang explained: “Our study of their evolution shows that Gomphotherium connexum became extinct, but G. steinheimense was part of the line that eventually gave rise to the modern elephants.”

To understand if feeding preference was playing a role in survival and extinction of these elephants, Dr Wu Yan of IVPP, the study’s lead author, analysed tiny remnants of plant matter found stuck to the fossil teeth, called phytoliths.

About 30 percent of the phytoliths extracted from the teeth of G. connexum are from soft foliage, whereas another 50 percent or so comes from grasses.

Dr Wu said: “Given that foliage naturally produces far less phytoliths than grasses, this indicates that G. connexum was mainly feeding on foliage, maybe a generalist feeder of all kinds of plant matter.

“When I examined the phytoliths extracted from the cheek teeth of G. steinheimense, I saw a very different pattern — grass phytoliths comprise roughly 85 percent of the total, suggesting this species was perhaps primarily a grazer 17 million years ago.”

To confirm these results, the team also examined tiny wear patterns on the fossil tooth surfaces called microwear.

Zhang Hanwen added: “Now things start to get interesting. When our team analysed fossil pollen samples associated with the sediments where the Gomphotherium teeth were found, we realised that woodlands were rapidly transforming into semi-arid savannahs when the two species lived together.

“By adopting a much more grass-based diet, G. steinheimense was apparently responding better to this habitat change than G. connexum.

“Gomphotherium had primitive dentition consisting of low molar crowns, and numerous conical cusps arranged in few transverse enamel ridges on the chewing surface of the teeth.

“This was adapted for feeding on leaves, the primitive diet. But later on, the lineage leading to modern elephants and the extinct mammoths evolved an increased number of enamel ridges, and these eventually became densely packed tooth plates for shearing tough vegetation.

“Our new evidence shows that the diet switch from leaves to grass happened long before the anatomical switch in tooth shape.”

Saving forest elephants saves forests


This 2013 video says about itself:

The Dzanga Bai, a small clearing in the Central African Republic, is a unique haven for endangered forest elephants. As many as 200 at a time will gather in this open area to eat minerals found in the soil. The Bai is part of the protected Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, but poachers recently entered the park killing more than two dozen elephants. This video shows elephants enjoying the Bai and reveals efforts to again make it a safe haven for the African forest elephant, a species whose numbers have been reduced by more than 60% in the past decade.

From the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA:

Protect forest elephants to conserve ecosystems, not DNA

April 25, 2018

Although it is erroneously treated as a subspecies, the dwindling African forest elephant is a genetically distinct species. New University of Illinois research has found that forest elephant populations across Central Africa are genetically quite similar to one another. Conserving this critically endangered species across its range is crucial to preserving local plant diversity in Central and West African Afrotropical forests — meaning conservationists could save many species by protecting one.

“Forest elephants are the heart of these ecosystems — without them, the system falls apart, and many other species are jeopardized”, said the principal investigator of this research, Alfred Roca, a professor of animal sciences at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).

African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are morphologically and genetically distinct from their iconic larger cousins, the African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) that populate the grasslands of Eastern and Southern Africa. Forest elephants are smaller with straighter tusks and live in the rainforests of Central and West Africa where they maintain tropical ecosystems through seed dispersal and germination, as well as nutrient recycling and herbivory.

Published in Ecology and Evolution, this recent study analyzed the nuclear DNA of 94 forest elephants from six locations. Forest elephant nuclear DNA is genetically diverse, yet this diversity is consistent across populations throughout Central Africa — any differences are too small to warrant treating them as distinct subspecies.

This nuclear DNA lacks the geographic patterns preserved in forest elephants’ mitochondrial DNA, the small proportion of the genome that is passed down only from mothers to their offspring. The mitochondrial DNA suggests that five genetically distinct populations existed in the past, most likely due to the Ice Age when their habitat was greatly restricted.

“Forest elephant’s seemingly discordant DNA can be easily explained by their behavior”, said lead author Yasuko Ishida, a research scientist in ACES. “Their mitochondrial DNA is a relic preserved by their matriarchal society.”

Females live together in matrilineal family groups, a herd is made up of related females who share the same mitochondrial DNA. Nuclear DNA diversity is controlled by the largest, mature males who travel long distances and promote gene flow by mating with distant females. Thus, females ensure mitochondrial DNA persists in local populations, while males ensure that the nuclear DNA is shared across populations.

“However, all of this precious DNA may soon be eradicated as forest elephants face extinction due to poaching and habitat loss”, Roca said. “Between 2002 and 2011, poachers wiped out more than half of their population. Fewer than 100,000 forest elephants are estimated to remain today — we must act swiftly to preserve them, and by extension, their habitats.”