Monday, 28 October 2013

Anomalous elephants

Karl Shuker's excellent blog covers some of the mythical beasts and anomalous elephants I mention in the Pygmy Elephants book, out soon. There's a whole section on them in Chapter 1.

There's a baku (also spelt "bakua") a mythical Japanese nightmare-eating animal possibly based on a tapir, here.

And there are white (or pink) elephants, and - from Ta'ng Dynasty China - black-skinned, pink-tusked elephants. As I note in Pygmy Elephants, Asian elephants who work on the parades circuit in the hot August sun in India often have a blackened, sunburnt appearance (I've seen one), while the ivory of African forest elephants has a greyish-pink tinge compared to that of savannah elephants. The pink tinge was used to trace the origin of suspect illegal ivory shipments.

And above is a photo of magnificent - and entirely fantastic - elephant squid in Hanbury Street, in Shoreditch, London - notorious haunt of art students. It appears to be an African savannah elephant squid. Photo: copyright Matt Salusbury. I'm told the graffiti artist has only a "thin" copyright in law, as they are, after all, committing a criminal offence.

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