Synopses & Reviews
Meet Greg. Heandrsquo;s a stocky guy with an outsized swagger. Heandrsquo;s been the intimidating yet sociable don of his posse of friendsandmdash;including Abe, Keith, Mike, Kevin, Torn Trunk, and Willie. But one arid summer the tide begins to shift and the third-ranking Kevin starts to get ambitious, seeking a higher position within this social club. But this is no ordinary tale of gangland betrayalandmdash;Greg and his entourage are bull elephants in Etosha National Park, Namibia, where, for the last twenty-three years, Caitlin Oandrsquo;Connell has been a keen observer of their complicated friendships.
In Elephant Don, Oandrsquo;Connell, one of the leading experts on elephant communication and social behavior, offers a rare inside look at the social world of African male elephants. Elephant Don tracks Greg and his group of bulls as Oandrsquo;Connell tries to understand the vicissitudes of male friendship, power struggles, and play. A frequently heart-wrenching portrayal of commitment, loyalty, and affection between individuals yearning for companionship, it vividly captures an incredible repertoire of elephant behavior and communication. and#160;Greg, Oandrsquo;Connell shows, is sometimes a tyrant and other times a benevolent dictator as he attempts to hold onto his position at the top. Though Elephant Don is Gregandrsquo;s story, it is also the story of Oandrsquo;Connell and the challenges and triumphs of field research in environs more hospitable to lions and snakes than scientists.
Readers will be drawn into dramatic tales of an elephant society at once exotic and surprisingly familiar, as Oandrsquo;Connellandrsquo;s decades of close research reveal extraordinary discoveries about a male society not wholly unlike our own. Surely weandrsquo;ve all known a Greg or two, and through this book we may come to know them in a whole new light.
andldquo;Elephant Don is truly a winner in many different ways. The best way to learn about the magnificent animals with whom we share Earthandmdash;or with whom we are supposed to peacefully coexistandmdash; is to meet them up close and personal, by name, by social relationships, and by their daily and sometimes hourly ups and downs. By reading the autobiographies detailing the roller coaster of emotions of a pachyderm posse we experience their own and otherand#39;s lifeand#39;s challenges, and we see them as the unique individuals they truly are. In this landmark book we also learn about the ups and downs of doing extremely difficult, highly rewarding, and incredibly important field research.and#160;There surely is no one better than Oandrsquo;Connell to tell the stories of the animals she knows so well, to see how what they actually do meshes with extant models and theories, and what itandrsquo;s really like to conduct this sort of research with a team of incredibly dedicated researchers, all of whom also are unique individuals. I will share this book widely. It is that good.andrdquo;
andldquo;Elephant bullsandmdash;those magnificent creatures now in the eyesight of hunters and poachersandmdash;were always portrayed as loners. Oandrsquo;Connell has changed this by showing their intensely social nature. Not only do bulls frequently associate, they have subtle ways of communicating status and to jockey for position. All of this is complicated by the andlsquo;musthandrsquo; wild card characteristic of the species. A fascinating look into the politics of the largest land animal.andrdquo;
andldquo;In Elephant Don, Oandrsquo;Connell, one of the leading experts on elephant communication and social behavior, takes us inside the little-known world of African male elephants, a world that is steeped in ritual, where bonds are maintained by unexpected tenderness punctuated by violence. It is also the story of Oandrsquo;Connell and the challenges and triumphs of field research. And it comes at a critical time when the slaughter of these intelligent and long lived creatures is at an all time high. The more people learn about them, the more they are likely to help efforts to save them.andrdquo;
andldquo;Oand#39;Connell not only delivers a fascinating glimpse into the complex social lives of these intelligent pachyderms but also highlights the gritty challenges faced by scientists who study them in their natural environment.andrdquo;
andldquo;An outstanding book. . . . There are no substitutes for long-term field research on identified individualsand#160;and, as you read Dr. Oandrsquo;Connellandrsquo;s book, youandrsquo;ll feel like youandrsquo;re right there with her, her incredible team of researchers, and these most interesting and amazing animals. Written for a broad audience, not only researchers,and#160;I hopeand#160;Elephant Don enjoys a global audience. This book can really make a positive difference in the lives of these most amazing and majestic beings.andrdquo;
andldquo;Elephant Don offers an insight into the changing world of male friendships and coalitions that go on in a bachelor herd and by the end of the book you feel as if you know the herd intimately. If you have any interest in elephants and their behaviorand#160;you will enjoy this book and you will almost certainly gain a greater understanding of elephant society.andrdquo;
andldquo;The stories Oandrsquo;Connell has to tellandmdash;both about the elephants and about life in the field, with poisonous snakes and infrequent access to a showerandmdash;are certainly absorbing.andrdquo;
andldquo;A highly engaging and at times deeply affecting personal memoir of her years monitoring elephant society.andrdquo;
andldquo;Oandrsquo;Connellandrsquo;s longtime watching, astute observations, photographs, and down-to-earth but detail-filled prose bring fascinating tales and postulations regarding elephant society.andrdquo;
andldquo;In her latest book, Elephant Don, just out this month, the gifted translator of all things elephant, provides a front row seat on a long-running soap opera, which has been cast with some very big stars.andrdquo;
andldquo;The jaunty title belies the scholarly weight of Oand#39;Connellandrsquo;s study on social behavior in a group of African bull elephants in Namibiaandrsquo;s Etosha National Park. Oandrsquo;Connell, who also works on the role of vibration in mammal communication, offers a riveting account. We see the pachyderms dipping their trunks into the mouth of dominant bull Greg; battling or welcoming would-be members; and, when Greg disappears, standing tail to tail, facing out as if listening for some seismic clue. Full of vivid detail, such as waking up to the andlsquo;demonic-sounding gigglingandrsquo; of hyenas.andrdquo;
World-renowned primatologist, conservationist, and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodalland#8217;s account of her life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe is one of the most enthralling stories of animal behavior ever written. Her adventure began when the famous anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey suggested that a long-term study of chimpanzees in the wild might shed light on the behavior of our closest living relatives. Accompanied by only her mother and her African assistants, she set up camp in the remote Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanzania. For months the project seemed hopeless; out in the forest from dawn until dark, she had but fleeting glimpses of frightened animals. But gradually she won their trust and was able to record previously unknown behavior, such as the useand#151;and even the makingand#151; of tools, until then believed to be an exclusive skill of man. As she came to know the chimps as individuals, she began to understand their complicated social hierarchy and observed many extraordinary behaviors, which have forever changed our understanding of the profound connection between humans and chimpanzees.and#160;In the Shadow of Man is and#147;one of the Western worldand#8217;s great scientific achievementsand#8221; (Stephen Jay Gould) and a vivid, essential journey of discovery for each new generation of readers.
Jane Goodall's account of her life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe.
About the Author
JANE GOODALL continues to study and write about primate behavior. She founded the Gombe Stream Research Center in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, and the Jane Goodall Institute for Wild Life Research, Education, and Conservation to provide ongoing support for field research on wild chimpanzees. She is the author of many books, including two autobiographies in letters, Africa in My Blood and Beyond Innocence. Today Dr. Goodall spends much of her time lecturing, sharing her message of hope for the future, and encouraging young people to make a difference in their world.Wrangham ia a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University.
Table of Contents
and#160;and#160;PREFACE BY JANE GOODALL XI
and#160;and#160;FOREWORD BY RICHARD WRANGHAM XX
and#160;2 and#160;EARLY DAYS 13
and#160;3 and#160;FIRST OBSERVATIONS 24
and#160;4 and#160;CAMP LIFE 38
and#160;5 and#160;THE RAINS 51
and#160;6 and#160;THE CHIMPS COME TO CAMP 63
and#160;7 and#160;FLOand#8217;S SEX LIFE 78
and#160;8 and#160;THE FEEDING STATION 88
and#160;9 and#160;FLO AND HER FAMILY 100
and#160;10 and#160;THE HIERARCHY 111
and#160;11 and#160;THE GROWTH OF THE RESEARCH CENTER 129
and#160;12 and#160;THE INFANT 144
and#160;13 and#160;THE CHILD 158
and#160;14 and#160;THE ADOLESCENT 170
and#160;15 and#160;ADULT RELATIONSHIPS 181
and#160;16 and#160;BABOONS AND PREDATION 194
and#160;17 and#160;DEATH 210
and#160;18 and#160;MOTHER AND CHILD 221
and#160;19 and#160;IN THE SHADOW OF MAN 234
and#160;20 and#160;MANand#8217;S INHUMANITY 248
and#160;21 and#160;FAMILY POSTSCRIPT 253
and#160;and#160;and#160;A.and#160;STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT 269
and#160;and#160;and#160;B.and#160;FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND CALLS 271
and#160;and#160;and#160;C.and#160;WEAPON AND TOOL USE 275
and#160;and#160;and#160;E.and#160;CHIMPANZEE AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR 282
and#160;and#160;ABOUT THE JANE GOODALL INSTITUTE 303