The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behaviour, and Conservation

Hardcover | August 27, 2003

byRaman Sukumar

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The Living Elephants is the authoritative resource for information on both Asian and African elephants. From the ancient origins of the proboscideans to the present-day crisis of the living elephants, this volume synthesizes the behavior, ecology and conservation of elephants, while coveringalso the history of human interactions with elephants, all within the theoretical framework of evolutionary biology. The book begins with a survey of the 60-million year evolutionary history of the proboscideans emphasizing the role of climate and vegetation change in giving rise to a bewilderingarray of species, but also discussing the possible role of humans in the late Pleistocene extinction of mastodonts and mammoths. The latest information on the molecular genetics of African and Asian elephants and its taxonomic implications are then presented. The rise of the elephant culture inAsia, and its early demise in Africa are traced along with an original interpretation of this unique animal-human relationship. The book then moves on to the social life of elephants as it relates to reproductive strategies of males and females, development of behavior in young, communication,ranging patterns, and societal organization. The foraging strategies of elephants, their impact on the vegetation and landscape are then discussed. The dynamics of elephant populations in relation to hunting for ivory and their population viability are described with the aid of mathematical models.A detailed account of elephant-human interactions includes a treatment of crop depredation by elephants in relation to their natural ecology, manslaughter by elephants, habitat manipulation by humans, and a history of the ivory trade and poaching in the two continents. The ecological information isbrought together in the final chapter to formulate a set of pragmatic recommendations for the long-term conservation of elephants. The broadest treatment of the subject yet undertaken, by one of the leading workers in the field, Raman Sukumar, the book promises to bring the understanding ofelephants to a new level. It should be of interest not only to biologists but also a broader audience including field ecologists, wildlife administrators, historians, conservationists and all those interested in elephants and their future.

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The Living Elephants is the authoritative resource for information on both Asian and African elephants. From the ancient origins of the proboscideans to the present-day crisis of the living elephants, this volume synthesizes the behavior, ecology and conservation of elephants, while coveringalso the history of human interactions with e...

Raman Sukumar is at Indian Institute of Science, IUCN Asian Elephat Specialist Group.

other books by Raman Sukumar

Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 6.3 × 9.09 × 1.3 inPublished:August 27, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195107780

ISBN - 13:9780195107784

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPreface1. Moeritheres, Mastodonts, and Mammoths: Elephant Evolution in Action2. Elephants, Gods, and People: The Interrelationship of Culture and Ecology3. Bulls, Musth and Cows: The Elephantine Mating Game4. Mothers, Children and Aunts: The Social Life of Elephant Families5. Bamboos, Bark and Bananas: The Diet of a Megaherbivore6. Forests, Fires and Grasslands: The Impact of Elephants On Their Habitats7. Birth, Death and Chance: The Dynamics of Elephant Populations8. Coconuts, Corn and Carvings: The Conflict Between Elephants and People9. Science, Politics and Pragmatism: Conserving the Elephant PopulationsAppendix I: Status and Distribution of ElephantsAppendix II: Statural Growth in ElephantsNotesReferences

Editorial Reviews

"Professor Raman Sukumar's latest book, The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behaviour, and Conservation, perhaps his magnum opus, attempts to bring together recent advances in the study of both African and Asian elephants. There are few biologists in Asia studying elephants who havethe depth of knowledge, or even the courage, to attempt to present such a broad overview of both extinct and extant elephants. This is a welcome and, by any standards, remarkable book that succeeds admirably in its purpose of synthesising the evolution, behaviour, ecology, conservation andmanagement of elephants, while dealing with the history of the interactions between humans and elephants." -- Quarterly Review of Biology, and Conservation and Society