Thursday, 13 August 2015

Elephant memory

They say elephants follow the same paths and even hand down genetic memories of directions and places across generations. Each elephant clan has a certain burial place, like many human communities, and always help the dying ones get back there if they are not killed traumatically first.

In addition to their travel and burial patterns, it has been demonstrated that elephants also have a high friendship skill with humans. They also develop lasting relationships with other elephants, and in fact do remember individuals of the human and their own species even when separated for decades.

The saying that elephants never forget has been backed by science. And it seems that the old adage may be particularly true in the case of matriarchs, who lead the herd. A study of wild African elephants has revealed that dominant females build up a social memory as they get older, enabling them to recognize "friendly" faces.

They signal whether an outsider is a friend or foe to the rest of the herd, allowing family members to focus on feeding and breeding when there is no danger. The older and more experienced the matriarch, the better she is at recognizing old friends, and the more calves the family is likely to produce.

Asian cultures admire the high intelligence and good memory of elephants. As such, they symbolize wisdom and royal power. Elephants have been the subject of various cultural depictions in mythology, symbolism and popular culture. They are both revered in religion and were respected for their prowess in war. In Buddhist tradition, the Buddha picked the form of a white elephant as one of his many incarnations, thus the rare appearance of a white elephant is still heralded as a manifestation of the gods.

They also have negative connotations such as being a symbol for an unnecessary burden. Ever since the stone age, when elephants were represented by ancient petroglyphs and cave art, they have been depicted in various forms of art, including pictures, sculptures, music, film, and even architecture.

The Hindu god Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, has the head of an elephant. In India you will find elephant figurines and motifs in almost all art forms, textiles, murals, linen as well as architecture.

Elephants are tough when protecting others and gentle when nurturing them. There is so much we can learn from these ginormous but gentle creatures! Elephants have emotions that are comparable to human emotions of love, joy, jealousy, rage. So today, on world elephant day let’s celebrate these regal creatures that stands for power, strength, peace, wisdom and learn a thing or two from them about love, communication skills, family and loyalty.