Song of the Lost Clan Information and Resources on the Young Adult Novel

Elephant Quick Facts

October 1, 2009 · By Angela Render

african_elephant_mikumiHere are some quick research facts about elephants:

  • The word “Elephant” – Both Greek and Latin. The elephant’s genus is elephas wich comes form the Greek, elephos, meaning “antlered beast.” Elephant comes from the Latin ele, meaning “arch” and phant, meaning “huge.” So “elephant means “huge antlered arch beast,” or something to that effect.
  • There are three species of elephant: African Savanna Loxodonta Africana, African Forest Loxodonta Cyclotis, and Asian Elephas Maximus.
  • Elephants are Earth’s largest living land mammals.
  • Elephants live in family herds led by a ranking female (a Matriarch) and composed of sisters, aunts, mothers, and their young.
  • Elephants live up to 70 years.
  • An elephant’s brain weighs around 4-6 kg (a human’s weighs about 1.36kg).
  • The trunk is a fusion of the elephant’s upper lip and nose. It’s dexterous enough to pick up a straw or tenderly touch family members, yet strong enough to push over a huge tree. It can hold up to 12 litres of water and detect scents over several kilometres.
  • Elephant tusks are actually elongated teeth, the incisors to be specific.
  • Elephants are herbivores and eat, herbs, fruit, bark, grass, and herbs—up to 7% of their body weight a day.
  • Elephant females are called cows (Meres in the story) and can have up to 12 calves (young guardians, children, or young bull in the story). Calves are born 4-6 years apart and an elephant pregnancy lasts almost 2 years (around 22 months). A cow can get pregnant as young as 8, but will usually have her first calf between 8 and 15 years of age.
  • Young males (bulls) reach sexual maturity between 15 and 28 years of age.

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