No other member of the animal kingdom can ace an algebra test or write an A+ essay. But that doesn’t mean other species aren’t highly intelligent. Several members of the animal kingdom have impress cognitive chops and cerebral skills.
According to a report from South African news outlet News24, a 51-year-old professional big game hunter met his demise on Friday when he was crushed by an elephant. And hey, I’m sure the possibility of that happening is what made his game so “fun.”
Wild elephants can’t be bothered with sleep.
Who could blame them? They have good reasons to stay awake. African elephants need to gobble a few hundred pounds of food a day and stay vigilant of cunning predators. After fitting two elephant matriarchs—female elephants that lead their respective herds—with activity monitors, researchers tracked these elephants through the Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana, for just over a month. Their results, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, found that they slept around two hours a night. And on five nights, they didn’t sleep at all.
Logically, elephants should get cancer much more than humans do—elephants have 100 times more cells than we do and live just about as long, providing ample opportunity for cancer-causing mutations to occur. But in fact they have less cancer; an analysis of hundreds of zoo deaths found that only five percent of elephants die of cancer, whereas 11 to 25 percent of humans do, according to the New York Times. Scientists hypothesize that, in order to get so large and biologically complex, elephants’ bodes must have evolved a way to suppress cancer. But they weren’t sure quite how they kept the cancer at bay.
Last month, a wild elephant and two of his friends were attacked by poachers. Wounded by poisoned arrows, they trudged across the African landscape to the one place that could help them: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).