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Other titles in the Scientists in the Field series:
EMI and the Rhino Scientist (Scientists in the Field)by Mary Kay Carson
Synopses & Reviews
The people of northern Namibia in the African desert refer to Caitlin O'Connell as "the mother of all elephants." In this book, O'Connell juggles several roles while she studies elephant behavior in Namibias Etosha National Park: field scientist, mediator, ecologist, conservationalist and environmentalist. In decoding the patterns of elephant communication, she has aided tremendously in the fight against killing and poaching elephants--in some cases, those which are endangered, like the Asian elephant. Her scientific observations and procedures have also acted to mediate between the farmers of the region and the elephants who eat their yet-to-be harvested crops.
Donna M. Jackson, author of Extreme Scientists and ER Vets captures the most intriguing pieces of Caitlin O'Connell's scientific observations of elephant communication through seismic signals--vibrations they transmit with their feet. Interestingly enough, Caitlin found herself hypothesizing and discovering how elephants "listen with their limbs" through her early observations of how insects communicate through vibrations they cause in the leaves of plants. The text teems with other intriguing facts about these pachyderms (which means "thick skin"). Elephants are nature's largest mammal weighing in at 14,000 pounds. There are 40,000 muscles in an elephant's trunk, which is a multifaceted tool used for many more purposes than just smelling daisies. A hundred year ago, 10 million African elephants roamed the earth; now only 500,000 remain.
In the sprawling African scrub desert of Etosha National Park, they call her “the mother of all elephants.” Holding binoculars closely to her eyes, American scientist Caitlin OConnell could not believe what she was seeing from these African elephants: as the mighty matriarch scanned the horizon, the other elephants followed suit, stopped midstride, and stood as still as statues. This observation would guide the scientist to a groundbreaking discovery about elephant communication: elephants actually listen with their limbs.
Terri Roth trudges through the thick, dark Sumatran jungle. Shes looking for a rhinoceros thats been seen in the area. Its a rare Sumatran rhino, the worlds smallest rhino and one of the most endangered mammals on the planet.Suddenly she spots a young female rhino through the tangle of ferns and trees. The stocky animal is covered in reddish hair, and her snout sports two stubby horns. The rhino walks right up to Terri. The scientist slowly reaches out her hand and touches the rhinos big nose. The wild rhinos curiosity and friendliness remind Terri of Emi, the female Sumatran rhino that lives at the Cincinnati Zoo where Terri works. Terri is working with Emi to help save Sumatran rhinos from extinction—one calf at a time.
About the Author
Donna M. Jackson spent many rewarding days at Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital while researching ER Vets. She says that watching the highly skilled, committed, and compassionate emergency vet team in action inspired her work. An award-winning author of nonfiction books for children, Ms. Jackson holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and lives in Colorado with her family.
Dr. Timothy Rodwell has a medical degree specializing in International Health and a Ph.D. in disease ecology. The couple lives in San Diego and directs a nonprofit organization called Utopia Scientific which promotes elephant conversation and scientific understanding around the world.
Caitlin O'Connell (Rodwell) has a Ph.D in ecology, a graduate degree in entomology, for which she studied insect communications. This eventually led to her acoustic work with wild elephant herds in Africa. She has more than nineteen years experience working on research projects from elephant conservation to coral reef restoration.
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