News of the WeekBehavioral Ecology

Elephant Matriarchs Tell Friend From Foe

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Science  20 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5516, pp. 417-419
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5516.417

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New research reported on page 491 shows that the lifetime experience of an elephant matriarch helps her group discriminate friend from foe and contributes in many other important ways to the well-being of her companions. Not only could the work be applicable to other animals that live in similar types of social groups, but it could have profound implications for conservation, as the loss of a matriarch could have a negative impact on the rest of the group.