Sunday, 29 July 2012

l'Élephant nain - Mammalia 1951

I am now 17 days away from the deadline for delivery of Pygmy Elephants to the publisher, and I have been busy!

On what is hopefully my last pygmy elephant-related visit to the British Library's Humanities Reading Room 1, I looked up Lucien Blancou's Notes Sur les mammiferes de l'Equateur Africain Français - l'Élephant nain from Mammalia 1951 ("nain" being "dwarf".) In this, Blancou is convinced that several particularly "loud, aggressive" crop-raiding elephants shot in Gabon in 1948 were pygmies.

The trouble is, he seems to change his mind about pygmy elephants in a later (1962) article in the same journal, and later comes to the conclusion there is no such thing. And the 2003 DNA analysis of one of the skulls in question suggested they were bog-standard forest elephants ("Status of the so-called pygmy elephant,"Régis De Bruyne, Arnaud Van Holt, Véronique Barriel, Pascal Tassy, Compte Rendu Biologies, Natural History Museum Paris, Elsevier, 2003)

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