Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It is hard to learn something when there is censoring

This is the way the trio looked when I saw them at Bronx zoo in August 1947. The male cyclotis Zangelima (Barney) is facing the camera. On the right is female cyclotis Doruma (Pinky). On the left is the bush elephant Bamangua. Note that her ears are large and fan-like while the two cyclotis have the typical rounded ears.

Wade G. Burck said...

What the heck is a cyclotis? School's on, please elaborate.
Wade Burck

Andrew said...

"Loxodonta Cyclotis" is the scientific name for the African forest elephant....formally Loxodonta africana cyclotis

The term cyclotis refers to the "rounded" ears of these elephants

Up until recently, it was considered a sub-species of the African elephant . Recent DNA testing was done with tail hairs from both African Savannah and forest elephants and scientist concluded that they were genetically very distinct. Almost as different as Asian vs. African.

This is a great blog...being interested in elephants, I come here often!

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that the Ringling "umbrella-eared" elephant Fannie was a bush elephant? Maybe you can identify some famous circus Africans [Jumbo, Mike, Topsy, Diamond, etc.] by their species?

There's an old [19th century] collection of circus elephant tail hairs in existence. It would be interesting to see some DNA testing done with them, if they were viable samples.

This comment was not allowed to go through for some reason. And I thought Andrew seemed eager to learn but he didn't get the chance unless he comes here:

Thank you. I did not realize half the scientific name was used to describe the shape of the ears. I must have missed that thread. Speaking of having an interest and learning, what have you learned about leg chains on an elephant in the thread Von Uhl #5?
Wade Burck

Andrew said...

Forest elephants can be readily identified if you know what to look out for.

Firstly, they are psychically smaller than the Bush species..with females around 6.5-7ft and males around 8ft tall at the shoulder.

Their heads seem a little squashed but this may be due to a slightly longer lower jaw compared to the bush elephants....its not vertically long like in the Indian but horizontally lengthened.

The skin is much smoother and not as deeply wrinkled as the bush..this is most noticeable on the trunk. Forest elephants generally don't have the deep ringed wrinkles like the bush.

Their ears are much more rounded in shape, this includes the lower lobes. Also, their ears hardly fold backwards at the top...which is common with bush elephants as they age.

With females, the tusks are exceptionally thin in comparison with the bush species. With males they can grow to be quite thick. Also the ivory is very yellower in color and harder which makes it not as good for carving. Young bulls can grow quite long tusks in their teens and it is these individuals who have been labeled pygmies. In reality they are still sub-adults but with fast growing tusks.

Their tails are quite long and thin, though not as long as Indians but more than the average bush.

They normally have the same number of toenails as an Indian- 5 on front, 4 on back.

They have much more sensory hairs covering their trunks and mouth region compared to the bush.

Lastly, the forest and bush species do cross breed in certain areas so you will find populations with a "mix" of both. But with that being said, the points above should help identify a true forest elephant.

They're also really rare now in captivity out side of Africa. I believe there is one bull in France and a few cows in Japan.

Hope this helps.

Andrew said...

Also, I looked up Fannie in Buckles archives and she appears to be a bush elephant, not forest. Jumbo was for sure a bush as well.

Andrew never did learn that I was not asking what a "Loxodonta Cyclotis" or an African Forest Elephant was. I was asking what a "Cyclotis" was, and that he answered it with it means the shape of the ears, because I was censored. I hope he doesn't have elephants because he also didn't learn that it is not good to chain them with a bare chain, and that it is mandatory that there be some sort of covering on the chain. Great way to educate.

We need to welcome Pierre to our ranks, a 19 year old young man from France who would give anything to be an Animal Trainer in the Circus some day. I hope you learn some things about the craft here, Pierre, as well as things about the circus, good and bad. As I mentioned you will meet some of the heaviest gun's in the profession, like Jim Clubb, Col. John Herriott, and Madame Col. Old Rossi, to name a few, as well as some very skilled elephant men from America and Europe.

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