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Elephant Family and Kinship Presented by: Dove Graham, Stefanie Hernandez, and Marielly Mitchell.

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Presentation on theme: "Elephant Family and Kinship Presented by: Dove Graham, Stefanie Hernandez, and Marielly Mitchell."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elephant Family and Kinship Presented by: Dove Graham, Stefanie Hernandez, and Marielly Mitchell

2 Elephant Growth and Development Elephants develop in the womb for nearly two years; they are in gestation for 21 months. Right after birth they can walk but not well so they stay close to the mother. For the first few days of life the calf finds the mother through smell and touch. 09oG8 09oG8

3 Elephant Calf Dependence on Family The baby calf has complete nutritional dependence for the first three months of life. From three to six months it continues to suckle but the rate declines. During these months the relationship between mother and calf strengthens. Average suckling time is 2-4 minutes each hour.

4 Gender relationships between Mother and Calf In a study conducted by Lee and Moss in 1986; it was discovered that mother elephants invest more in male calves because they want them to grow and mature faster in order to reach their reproductive stage, and continue to pass on the family genetics.

5 The Four Stages of Elephant Social Development 1. The neonatal period of complete dependence of infant on mother. 2. The transition period in which some adult locomotors and feeding patterns develop 3. Peer socialization during which much of the contact is with members of the group other than their mother 4. Juvenile sub adult period when infantile patterns disappear and adult patters such as sexual behaviors appear.

6 Elephant Societies Elephants are believed to have one of the most mammalian social organizations. Their social organization is based off of memory and recognition of other members of their family and the familial history.

7 Members of Elephant Societies The basic form of an elephant society is the mother and her mate (if he is there) and her offspring. In most groups there is more than one family. Elephants also have neighbors and usually one neighbor becomes attached to an offspring and provides the same environment for a baby calf, like a mother elephant would.

8 Elephant Societies There are stable families which usually consists of one or two adult cows and then their offspring. Second there is the joint family in which other additional families add to the base family. Then there are clans which are groups of elephants, that are of 50 or more elephants. Any larger group would be a congregation of elephants which is usually the case of two or more clans at a river sharing precious resources.

9 Family Size Studies In a study conducted at the Lake Manyara National Park it was found that the average size of a family was ten elephants. Then there was a higher level of organization in which two or more families had close ties and were often together, but not always.

10 Elephant Societies Elephant societies are usually matriarchal societies in which the females are the leaders and guide their family and group to resources such as food, water, or safety. In large families with mostly females the cows are usually always related as sisters, aunts, mothers, and daughters. Those in the kin group are usually cousins or distant cousins.

11 Calf Relationship within the Family The young calves learn all of their from the elders such as communication, how to play and what plants to consume. Interactions with other calves include friendly rough play, touching, and rubbing with the trunk. Not all interactions are friendly as they mature they begin to poke each other with their tusks, slap one another with their trunks, and chase each other with their ears flapping.

12 Calf Familial Relationships The calf depends on protection and food from the family, and the family of the calf becomes very attached and does everything to ensure protection and safety. When a calf is in distress or gets lost, it releases a loud bellow or a deep rumble and all the members of the group especially the mother come rushing to the calf.

13 Calf Familial Relationships Not all relationships between elephants are perfect. Young male elephants that associate with the group temporarily are the ones that show aggression to the calves but mostly with daughters or young female calves rather than male calves.

14 Calf and Mother Relationships “ The apparent altruistic behavior of female elephants can be justified by the high degree of relatedness among members of the family; in genetic terms such behavior enhances the “ inclusive fitness ” of the donor through “ kin selection ”. After all, by saving a niece or a nephew with whom she shares a significant proportion of her genes, a matriarch also ensures that copies of her genes are passed on to future generations ” p.186 The living Elephants Raman Sukumar

15 Elephant Mourning "When an elephant dies, its family members engage in intense mourning and burial rituals, conducting weeklong vigils over the body, carefully covering it with earth and brush, revisiting the bones for years afterward, caressing the bones with their trunks, often taking turns rubbing their trunks along the teeth of a skull’s lower jaw, the way living elephants do in greeting. If harm comes to a member of an elephant group, all the other elephants are aware of it.

16 Elephants Mourning "six-month-old female calf to remain with her mother's body, even though they have pushed away all other members of Eleanor's First Ladies family. The calf died within three months, despite her attempts to nurse from other lactating females in her family" - from national geographic news

17 Interesting Points Bonds quite similar to human bonding patterns are created through suckling, grooming, feeding and drinking. Even elephant calves, as they grow, begin to contribute to the upbringing and care of the younger calves, in preparation for their own maternal success. Much like human young girls playing with dolls to learn maternal care. Elephant families have “family friends” or other elephant families whom they are close to. In a study by Lee and Moss in 1986, that mother elephants invest more in male calves because they want them to grow faster and healthier as to improve their reproductive rate

18 Arguments Against Studies Male elephants probably do not only pick on young female calves, they probably pick on both sexes. When a male is present is the group of elephants still a matriarchal society or does the male play a more important role? If a calf with a deformity is born does the mother still treat it the same or will she leave it behind?

19 Questions 1.Elephants have a social organization based on their memory and family member recognition. T/F 2.All are ways an elephant is able to locate its mother in its first few days EXCEPT: a)smell b)touch c)sight d)sound

20 Questions 3.Baby elephants suckle from their mother for up to five years. T/F 4.Mother elephants invest more in: a)Male offspring b)Female offspring c)Both evenly d)Do not invest in offspring at all.

21 Questions 5.Aggressive physical interactions between elephants is more prevalent in calves than in adult elephants. T/F 6.Inclusive fitness within elephant groups is enhanced by: a)High degree of related members b)Altruistic behavior of the females on other calves c)Both a & b d)None of the above

22 Works Cited Sukumar, Raman. “The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behavior and Conservation”. New York Oxford University Press, 2003. National Geographic News. (2007). Dying Elephant Elicits "Compassion". Photographer Shivani Bhalla. Retrieved November 5, 2007, from photogalleries/elephants/photo5.html photogalleries/elephants/photo5.html

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