Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Copenhagen University's dwaergelefanten

Lars Thomas of the University of Copenhagen finally got access to the mammalogy section of the University of Copenhagen museum, where specimens had been put in deep freezes to combat a beetle infestation. After a long delay, he was able to send me some photos of one of the female dwaergelefanten - Danish for "dwarf elephants" - shot in 1955 in South Cameroon. Lars told me, "I've had a chance now to look closer on them, and one is definitely an adult, although very small in stature... Each elephant teeth lasts around 10 years. And in one of the animals, the third one was starting to appear, which would mean it is was at least 20 years old, probably around 25." The photo shows the lower(?) jaw of Specimen no. 2980, one of the two females shot and sent to the museum. The Stanley knife for scale is 15cm long.
More details in the Pygmy Elephants book, due out from CFZ Publications in time for Christmas. Photo copyright Lars Thomas, used with permission.

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