By Raman Sukumar
The residing Elephants is the authoritative source for info on either Asian and African elephants. From the traditional origins of the proboscideans to the present-day hindrance of the dwelling elephants, this quantity synthesizes the habit, ecology and conservation of elephants, whereas masking additionally the historical past of human interactions with elephants, all in the theoretical framework of evolutionary biology. The ebook starts with a survey of the 60-million 12 months evolutionary heritage of the proboscideans emphasizing the function of weather and crops switch in giving upward thrust to a bewildering array of species, but additionally discussing the potential function of people within the overdue Pleistocene extinction of mastodonts and mammoths. the newest info at the molecular genetics of African and Asian elephants and its taxonomic implications are then offered. the increase of the elephant tradition in Asia, and its early death in Africa are traced in addition to an unique interpretation of this special animal-human dating. The publication then strikes directly to the social lifetime of elephants because it pertains to reproductive concepts of ladies and men, improvement of habit in younger, communique, ranging styles, and societal association. The foraging innovations of elephants, their influence at the crops and panorama are then mentioned. The dynamics of elephant populations when it comes to looking for ivory and their inhabitants viability are defined by way of mathematical versions. a close account of elephant-human interactions contains a therapy of crop depredation through elephants in terms of their average ecology, manslaughter through elephants, habitat manipulation via people, and a background of the ivory alternate and poaching within the continents. The ecological info is introduced jointly within the ultimate bankruptcy to formulate a suite of pragmatic innovations for the long term conservation of elephants. The broadest therapy of the topic but undertaken, through one of many prime employees within the box, Raman Sukumar, the ebook offers to convey the knowledge of elephants to a brand new point. it may be of curiosity not just to biologists but additionally a broader viewers together with box ecologists, flora and fauna directors, historians, conservationists and all these attracted to elephants and their destiny.
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Extra resources for The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behaviour, and Conservation
To cope with the frigid cold of the last Ice Age, M. primigenius had a coat of thick fur, as entire frozen carcasses in the tundra have shown. 8 My ago, M. meridionalis or the advanced early Siberian M. trogontherii–like mammoth migrated across the Bering Strait during a period of low sea level into North America. Here, it underwent autochthonous speciation to give the Columbian mammoth, M. columbi. The Columbian mammoth was one of the largest of the mammoths, standing about 4 m high, but it lacked the dense fur of the woolly mammoth as it lived in a more pleasant southern habitat.
Among these early, primitive proboscideans, we already see a specialization of dental characters from a full complement of teeth, to lost canines and premolars, enlarged incisors, and molars with increased lophs. Considerable increase in body size is also in evidence (one barythere was already the size of a modern elephant). What evolutionary pressures could have driven these changes in the Eocene proboscideans? Although the early-to-middle Eocene represented a peak warming period, the world grew cooler and drier, especially at higher latitudes, between the middle and late Eocene.
Larger herbivorous mammals evolved with more prominently ridged (or lophed) teeth to deal with coarser plant forage. Larger body size is partly a response to the nutritional needs for processing greater quantities of lower quality vegetation. The elephantlike size of Barytherium grave cannot be explained by a need for immunity from predators; there were no large carnivores during the Eocene. Rather, it can be explained by the changing vegetation, which made it necessary for a herbivore to consume the vegetation at higher rates.
The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behaviour, and Conservation by Raman Sukumar