Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The elephant in the room: humans didn't invent social networks!

A few quotes from BMC Ecology caused me to smile today, and made me realize that we humans may think we're smart with our internet connections and Social Network pages, but but whilst we need our address books and iphones, an elephant never forgets!

First quote:

"....while Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Sri Lanka may change their day to day associations they maintain a larger, stable, network of friends from which they pick their companions."

And then there's this:

"...Social strategies were also variable, with some elephants always being seen in each other's company while others were 'social butterflies' who frequently changed companions."

Or this:

"Elephants are able to track one another over large distances by calling to each other and using their sense of smell (it's a primitive version of Skype). So the 'herd' of elephants one sees at any given time is often only a fragment of a much larger social group. Our work shows that they are able recognize their friends and renew these bonds even after being apart for a long time (think Facebook after having a manicure)."

So pack your trunk and head for the jungle!
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