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Articles on Elephants

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Tim – one of the last big tusker elephants – died last year at the age of 50, in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. From the author

Curious Kids: why do elephants have tusks?

Elephants use their giant incisors to dig holes, impress rivals and rest weary trunks. But as so many continue to be killed for their ivory, he question is whether they are destined to be tuskless.
Rosewood, the name for several endangered tree species that make beautiful furniture, being loaded in Madagascar. Pierre-Yves Babelon/Shutterstock

Restricting trade in endangered species can backfire, triggering market booms

For decades nations have worked to curb international sales of endangered plants and animals. But in countries like China, with high demand and speculative investors, that strategy fuels bidding wars.
Mammoths went extinct tens of thousands of years ago, but trade in their ivory is threatening their living elephant cousins. EPA/FREDERICK VON ERICHSEN

Why we need to protect the extinct woolly mammoth

Melting Siberian permafrost is exposing long-dead mammoths, creating a new trade in mammoth ivory.
Artistic view of the evolution of elephants. From left to right, Moeritherium (30 million years old), Deinotherium (5 million years old) and a modern African elephant. Alex Bernardini (Simplex Paléo) and Sophie Vrard (Creaphi).

How did elephants evolve such a large brain? Climate change is part of the answer

A shift in climate, along with other environmental disruptions and the invasion of competitors and new predators all likely played an important role in reshaping ancient elephants' brains.

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