Talk:Elephant/Archive 3

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Some time ago, I heard smtg like this on the NPR: "Slons (Sloans, Slouns, Slones...) were Mammoth size animals, that lived long ago..." Can someone help, how to spell the word, and what kind animal is that. I made a search over the internet on all possible spellings, but failed. I am intrigued, because S-L-O-N is the all-slavic-language word for elephant.

Trunk and fingerlike

Conservation Status

Is not listed! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:20, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

The African Elepahnts have two, the Asian Elephants have one... They are located at the tip of their trunks and serve to grab things... But how are they called? By professionals that is...Undead Herle King 23:21, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Slons are good —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:16, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


How heavy are elephants? The article lists a newborn's weight and that of the heaviest elephant found, but no average. A weight range for males and one for females would, I think, be imperitive to this article.

Does it make any sense at all to describe the weight of the worlds largest elephant to three significant figures, when the initial measurement was to two significant figures, and was an estimate at that? Guinness reports an elephant shot in 1974 to four figures (12.24 tonnes - ) Danil Suits 06:46, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

The Smithsonian, aka Fenykovi, elephant is the 12 ton elephant shot in 1954. The guinness elephant was shot in 1974 and is the 12.24 tonne elephant. They were both killed in Angola. It would make more sense to use the 1974 figure as it was deemed larger under the same (if not greater) degree of scrutiny. The Fenykovi elephant (which at one point Wikipedia misrepresented as Elephas recki) is interesting in its own right. The skull weighed 1800 lbs (elephant skulls, despite being quite strong, are relatively light for their size to offset the weight of the trunk and tusks) and the skin alone weighed two tons.

the size is an exaggerate. From where do you get that fig. of 12 ton elephant 1954 Angola? And from where it reads the skin alone weighed two tons? Hey, the average Afri. elephant stands 2.8m and weigh 4500 kg(male). How can it grow to 8 tons, let alone 12 tons. 1974 fig. is just an estimate, and accord. to guinness 2006, it measured 3.96m on lying, not 4.2m. People tend to get too excited about size and weight. Complete bullshit! Todays, it's exceedingly hard to find an ele reaching 3.6m tall and over 6.5 tons. So, The 1954 fig. is WORTHLESS.

useful resource page

can we add please?

I humbly submit my agreement that this extremely valuable resource page be added as a reference. The merits are numerous and, I should think, obvious to even the most casual viewer. First of all, these breeds of elephant are exceedingly rare and beautiful. I was priveleged enough to catch one in person and, I must tell you, I have not been the same since. The vicarious viewing of this beautiful specimen, as this page allows, offers a similar life changing experience for even the most jaded internet user.

Dear Wikipedians -- this is a page that deserves to be seen by the world. I hope, deeply, that you agree with my assessment, and take it into your deepest consideration.-- 17:04, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

African elephant population: actual figures

The total African elephant population appears to have been more or less stable for more than a decade (down tenfold from a half century ago). Some regions of Africa are dealing with local elephant overpopulations, most regions are not. When reporting 2002 estimates of 1,460,000 (probable) to 1,560,000 (possible) African elephants, researchers noted that this represented an increase over their 1998 figures (360,000 probable, 500,000 possible) suggestive of incredible population growth. However this apparent increase could have been an artifact of the much larger area represented in the 2002 survey – or "many other factors unrelated to overall elephant numbers" (From IUCN's African Elephant Status Report 2002, page 17 The papers presented in Pachyderm magazine (journal of the African Elephant, African Rhino and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups) through June 2006 do not give any indication of a recent boom in elephant population ( A "comprehensive African Elephant Status Report (AESR) is … expected to be published some time in 2006" based on their current data. See ... Verifiable reliable peer-reviewed published scientific research by The World Conservation Union that has not yet been cited in the talk or the article. User:|]] 10:20, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Contrary to what is stated above, a formal statistical analysis of changes in elephant numbers, using only comparable survey data, was published in Pachyderm 38 (p.19-28). The analysis concluded that the elephant population in Southern Africa (which currently holds the largest regional population) and perhaps also in Eastern Africa, have been increasing considerably in recent years, at about 4.5% per annum for both regions combined. Nowhere near as fast as suggested by Colbert, admittedly, but at pretty high overall rates nonetheless. Perhaps more importantly though, the estimates that now remain on the Wikipedia elephant page (3,000,000 in 1970, 300,000 today) are as inaccurate and fictitious as those suggested by Colbert. There are believed to be about half a million African elephants today (give or take 100,000 or so). We do not know, and cannot reliably estimate, the figures in the 1970s; the first widely publicised continental estimate, 1.3 million in 1979, was made by Iain Douglas Hamilton in The African Elephant Action Plan (IUCN/WWF/NYZS - unpublished). The whole irony of the Colbert story, is that the widely publicised decline in elephant numbers between the late 1970s and the early 1990s came to be widely accepted through a very similar process of sheer repetition. The Douglas-Hamilton estimate included a very large proportion of guesses - extrapolations of assumed elephant densities over vast areas of assumed range. Such guesses, which made up over half of the continental estimate, were removed from subsequent continental estimates due to their lack of basis and unreliability. Many erroneously interpreted this as sign of substantial declines in overall elephant numbers. Numbers have undoubtedly declined drastically in many areas through poaching and habitat loss, but at the same time elephant numbers have been increasing in others - particularly in Southern Africa, where populations have been recovering after reaching their lowest point about 100 years ago. We simply do not the extent to which declines in some areas may have been offset by increases in others, and hence remain ignorant of the shape of the net trend at the continental level in the last 30 years or so. --Pitix 12:56, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
If you visit this article from American University, you will see that the actual population has increased in many African countries, such as Botswana, which is currently experiencing severe elephant overpopulation. While the population may have not tripled over the past ten years, it certainly has increased. Anyone who reverts my edits, which are actually backed by respectable sources, while yours are not, will be warned for vandalism. Cielomobile 18:37, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The actual Elephants page states worldwide figures of both 300,000 and 600,000 African elephants. Which is it? Adversive 17:27, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

In regards to poaching and illegal hunting

See this sentence:

One decade later, only around 600,000 remain. This decline is attributed primarily to poaching, or illegal hunting, and habitat loss.

Is there a difference between poaching and illegal hunting? Aren't those the same thing? If the intent of "or illegal hunting" was to provide a definition of poaching, isn't the fact that poaching is wikilinked enough to warrant the removal of the definition? --Stephane Charette 09:31, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Since it's conceivable that even native English speakers who are not familiar with hunting will be unsure what poaching is, it's a perfectly valid way to put it. The fact that something is linked doesn't mean that there should be absolutely no information about it included in the text. Zocky | picture popups 11:31, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
This is not Poaching is not a technical, or "hard," word, especially in a page about wildlife, or animals in nature, and I find the clause, or words separated by commas, somewhat insulting, or hurting to my feelings. Those who don't understand it can click, and those that do will find this clumsy and unnecessary. NTK 13:26, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
and talk about elephants, but isn't there a glaring discrepancy between the introduction and the first section?

Introduction: "Elephants are increasingly threatened by human intrusion, with the African elephant population plummeting from 3 million in 1970 to roughly 300,000 today..."

Zoology, African Elephant: "Today there are approximately 600,000 African elephants in the world."

Or have they been breeding like rabbits?

Straussian 13:46, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

The rampant vandalism regarding elephant population probably threw off editors a bit. I suggest looking back at the history of the Elephant article pre-Colbert-vandalism to see what the actual numbers were. Better yet, look it up in a proper source. — Dark Shikari talk/contribs 14:33, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

It would appear to be an estimate of 300,000 to 600,000 according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) [1] "There are 300,000 to 600,000 African (in 37 range countries) and 35,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants (in 13 range countries) left in the wild."[2]

CNN list the Population at 580,000 in 1998 [3] Sirex98 16:30, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Check the African Elephant Database for the official (and most detailed) figures: the most recent data (2002) indicate a continental population of between 400,000 and 660,000. The figures now shown on the elephant page (3,000,000 million in 1970 and 300,000 today have NOT been taken from WWF as cited in the article, but from the Daphne Sheldrick Wildife Trus - an organization concerned with animal welfare lobby and not an authority on elephant population numbers. The WWF page cited gives figures of 1.3 million (not 3 million) in 1970 and 600,000 in 1989 (nothing for today). Somebody please correct the figures - else this is just as fictitious as the figures of the Colbert debacle. --Pitix 11:36, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
I removed the following unreferenced and inconsistent population numbers from the article. Obviously, properly referenced recent estimates should be added by someone familiar with the authorities on this topic.
..., to 272,000 in 2000 and then to between 400,000 and 660,000 in 2003
Elroch 18:31, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Talk page archived

I have ruthlessly removed anything to do with the Colbert Report to /Colbert. I thought the segment was funny as hell, and good publicity for us, but this talk page should be about elephants again. I will continue to ruthlessly archive in this manner. -- SCZenz 17:10, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Alright, so long as we haven't just created a Colbert chat room/messageboard. I'd support simply declaring it an archive, locking the page, and diverting any other comments about the matter to the talk pages of individual users. (But my, does this place look a lot cleaner.) Either way, it's a positive step. JDoorjam Talk 17:31, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
None of us have to read that page, so it's a lot more pleasant having comments there (since people will comment somewhere). After a week or so, hopefully, it will effectively be an archive. I'll keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't become a chat room in any case. -- SCZenz 17:33, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Penis Section

I just indented this section to prevent it from showing up as a category. To be honest, it seems like a load of nonsense, but I'm not a biologist and I don't want to remove it without feedback from others. Anyone? alphaChimp laudare 20:27, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the section. It was entirely unsourced, and seems simply to be in response to Thursday's Colberrorism. Elephants are large. As large animals, they have large animal parts. I'll bet they have gigantic kidneys and monstrously large livers, too. They've got big feet and long tongues. And yes, the males have large penises (which, incidentally, is the plural -- that, or penes). All of the other elephant body part sections deal with unique or unusual aspects of the elephant, not issues related directly to the size of the creature: tusks, skin, ears, trunk. We don't need one on the penis. JDoorjam Talk 20:41, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

You may want to check these references [4] [5] Sysrpl 20:42, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Penis already has a discussion of elephant penises, and has for a long time—I suspect it's why Colbert brought them up, actually. I really think that it's more relevant there than here. -- SCZenz 20:44, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
I concur. JDoorjam Talk 21:04, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Yup. Just zis Guy you know? 21:12, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Okay, now this seems to be going a wee bit overboard. We're claiming the the actual, factual physiology of an animal is not worth mentioning in its own article because of a potential giggle factor and/or mention on a comedy show? Tell me we haven't reached this point. I remember, many years ago (1993, before the internet invented itself), having an extended conversation about the size of wangs in the animal kingdom (I had a fun HS english teacher, what can I say), the... um... generous size of the pachyderm's pecker actually did come up. I vividly remember because some girl blurted out "that's taller than I am" --one remembers these things over chemistry equations (go figure). Anyway, let's not be dreadfully serious, this is Wikipedia, not Britannica (and I say that in the best way possible). --Bobak 00:18, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

It is neither a critical fact about the elephant, nor a fact that I believe our readers who type "elephant" into the search box are looking for. It is not more notable than the elephant's spleen size, which we do not go into detail on either. If you think the difference between Wikipedia and Britannica is that we focus on factoids to make girls giggle, you've got the wrong encyclopedia.
As I said above, the information in question is in penis; I imagine someone looking up that subject is much more likely to be interested. -- SCZenz 08:17, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I haven't been following this debate, but what about a "see also" link directly to the elephant section on the penis article? Seems like a nice compromise to me. Konman72 08:19, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I've heard no argument that merits compromise. If you would like to present one, I'm happy to discuss. -- SCZenz 08:22, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Nope, got no opinion either way. Just thought I'd try to help. Konman72 08:30, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate that; striving for compromise is a good thing in general. But I think compromises really only make sense if all parties are arguing based on the goals and policies of Wikipedia. It doesn't seem to me the pro-penis (heh) arguments above fit that description. -- SCZenz 08:33, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Elephants have the largest penises of land mammals. How is that not notable? I mean, we have an article on John Holmes and Dirk Diggler, and I didn't even need to check ahead to see if they were there. Does the article about blue whales say they are the largest mammals? Does the article about hummingbids say they are the smallest birds and flap their wings the fastest of birds? There's a reason why some think an elephant article shouldn't include its breadbasket, and it's Victorian-era puritanism: bleeding into the "serious" editors saying a penis has no place in an article about an animal that has one. That has nothing to do with what is "right" for an encyclopedia, it has everything to do with "well, we don't want to offend people". Get real. --Bobak 19:18, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
They are large animals. Everything about them is large. We don't need to add peniscruft to reinforce this rather obvious fact. Just zis Guy you know? 20:06, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. I'd be more supportive of this if they had extremely tiny penises, or four of them, or they shot flames or something. As it is it's just not unusual enough to merit its own section. I would tolerate a single referenced sentence or half-sentence near the beginning stating that their various organs are also all correspondingly above average if people really think that's not an obvious foregone conclusion that big animals have big animal parts, but I'm not sure even that is necessary. JDoorjam Talk 20:14, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Pssshh... by your exacting standards no penis would be worthy. (this is starting to read like a bad episode of Sex is the City... Nerds in the City Online?) Frankly, I don't know anyone, outside of the over-serious world of Wikipedia who wasn't amused by the revelation of pachyderm penis size. We're not prudes. --Bobak 23:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

IMHO comparative anatomy is useful and interesting information, having a table of median brain, spleen, heart, femur, other bones and organs, and (even) penis sizes for some major or representative species might be a "good thing"(tm) if it was semi-systematic and not overdone; representative, major, and interesting parts (we don't need "median weight of 3rd lumbar vertebra" just yet). Wikipedia's really not a datadump, of course, but comparative anatamy is important and one way to illustrate it is with the actual sizes of things. And of course, if we're talking about comparisons among species, we would need to include the endpoints of the range.... I'll shut up now... Bye... --studerby 20:49, 8 August 2006 (UTC) This sounds silly. Of course elephant anatomy and phisiology should be discuseed in the article about elephants. The penis article should include comparative anatomy of penises, not details about individual species. Zocky | picture popups 12:56, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

The size of the penis is actually more informative than the size of other organs. Most organs are simply scaled up or down according to the size of the animal, and for these we should not bother to mention. Some organs are changed depending on physiology or social changes, and these should be mentioned. The length of the gut in a number of animals that digest otherwise undigestable foods, the size of the liver in animals that are able to cope with high concentrations of posion. And the size of the penis is used as one of the measures of male-male competition for reproductive success. In species with a single dominant male (such as gorillas) the penis size is small, while in species with a more complex social structure where females may have sex with numerous males (such as chimpanzee) the pensis size is relatively larger. This is therefore included in the article not for giggles, but as highly relevent information on the anatomy of the animal which gives us an insight into social structure. Sad mouse 20:40, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

It's hardly the question of size. Animals differ not just in how they look externally, but primarily in how their organs work. Elephant's penis, just as its hart, lungs, bladder, etc. has peculiar properties which should be described in the article about elephants. Zocky | picture popups 15:00, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Gorillas have really small penis's, they are large; so not all big animals have corrosponding parts. Just a thought, I support the link elsewhere compromise. I think that it is validated by the fact that someone is interested in elephant penises, this being a public encyclopedia, they should have a voice no matter how silly they may seem. By the way, you seem to have more Colbert issues. Thats what I actually entered this discussion page about.

Penis section / references have gone in article as I write this. Info on elephant penile size would be noteworthy if such size was SIGNIFICANTLY more or less than what a scientist might expect it to be from body mass. Like many animals, elephant penises (and whale penises for that matter)are not readily visible until tumescence. Human males have the most obviously visible genitalia, a consequence of their bipedalism and their lack of fur. Only video I saw of male elephant in coital activity certainly opened my eyes, and lowered my jaw. Btw, interesting that earlier comments mention elephant's kidneys. In fact these glands possess very revealing, perhaps unique characteristics in elephants, namely they are similar to those of amphibious mammals, giving important clues to the elephant's genesis. I do not think the article should be much expanded, but some further evolutionary material on this matter could well be incorporated. Myles325a 10:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The one way it is noteworthy is that, compared to body size, it's quite large. To scale up the average man to have a penis the size of an elephant's, he would have to be far larger than any elephant is or ever has been. Even so, saying where every penis-possessing animal lies on the relative scale might seem pointless. I don't know if they have the largest relative to body size of all mammals, or vertebrates, but they certainly do not of all animals - that's barnacles. Perhaps a more worthwhile comment is that the length is far less typical of body size than is the girth, or that the extreme length is one of the main difficulties in collecting elephant semen for conservation programs. Another non-trivial aspect of it is that Richard Dawkins admitted (I forget in which book) that, when he was a young researcher, he and his colleagues discussed how to compute the length of an elephant's penis by analysing its urine tracks, and were thoroughly amused. So, whether or not this section was trivial before, it need not be. I honestly don't know if it was, as I didn't read it. Of course, these non-trivial facts might be inappropriate because Wikipedia is not for indiscriminate collections of information, but I think other people's opinions are relevant here. I don't know what should be included. Anyone? 10:49, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

So, how'd we do?

Check out before and after: how the Elephant article has changed since July 31. Do we have a better article as a result of all that traffic? Did we lose anything in the shuffle? --M@rēino 15:17, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Overall it is much better. However, there is a major problem now: the article says 600,000 elephants are left, and then later says 300,000 are left. This issue needs to be resolved quite quickly... or maybe the number of elephants has doubled in the past 6 days? — Dark Shikari talk/contribs 16:19, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I changed "roughly 300,000 today" -> "to roughly 600,000 in 1989, down to 272,000 in 2000" -- that is what the references next to it say. I don't know what the current population is... BCorr|Брайен 16:34, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Nice work. I touched up the grammar in the second sentence, but other than that it looks great. Thanks! -Harmil 19:40, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
The population references still need to be cleaned up. According to the article, the population of African elephants has doubled in the past 6 years. The intro says there were 272,000 in 2000, while the next section says there are 600,000 today. 03:32, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Elephant Intelligence

With regard to this page, besides barring against any further acts of the aforementioned heinous wiki-crime, perhaps this page should have a section devoted to the purported intelligence of elephants, which seems in many ways to reflect the intelligence of other large mammals such as whales, dolphins, and primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas. The intelligence-type of parrots and crows does not seem to be as analogous, as it is more based on mimickry and a type of survivalist/strategic thought-pattern, although it is also noted. Matthew A.J.י.B. 01:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I was also surprised that there isn't such a section. That would definitely be a worthwhile addition. — Dark Shikari talk/contribs 14:09, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
The intelligence of parrots and crows may actually be more analogous than you think, since intelligence in mammals actually correlates far better with longevity than with size, both parrots are crows are quite long-lived by comparison to other birds, which indicates the analogy may hold up between birds and mammals. Sad mouse 20:30, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

While on the subject of elephant intelligence, it may also be good to discuss the belief that elephants have perfect memory, where it came from, and how close to the truth it is. -- Milo

an excellent article about elephant intelligence can be found at

It is possible that being long lived and master of so complex an organ as the trunk has given rise to an animal closer in intelligence to humans than horses.

I have edited part of intelligence section as many studies tend to rank elephants about equal with cetaceans and apes and put them all in the same catagory.The duskydolphin 02:17, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Asian Elephant population error

The Elephant#Asian Elephant section states that there are "approximately 40,000" Asian Elephants total, comprised of "3,000-4,500" Sri Lankan Asian Elephants, "approximately 36,000" Mainland Asian Elephants and "33,000 to 53,000" Sumatran Asian Elephants. (Sidenote, I note the Asian Elephant article has no pop. figures at all) TeeEmCee 09:30, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Try checking the external links that the population figures are cited to, and then correcting the figures from there. Its quite possible the figures are from different dates: that was the problem with the conflicting African Elephant figures. — Dark Shikari talk/contribs 09:40, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Removing sprotection

It's been two weeks now; I'm taking off the semi-protection. We'll probably still get pinged by a few people who thought it was OMG SO HILARIOUS, but it's time for us to move on. JDoorjam Talk 20:33, 13 August 2006 (UTC)