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Posted: 3/19/2011 8:55:43 AM EDT
Yesterday I ate lunch at a Thai place that had a lot of elephant-themed artwork. They had one piece that depicted elephants being used to drag logs and I got to thinking about domesticated elephants.

The Indian elephant has been domesticated for centuries and used for all sorts of things from simple transportation to hard labor and warfare.

Hannibal was from Carthage (that's North Africa for the geographically challenged) and he had war elephants that went to Europe to fight Romans. I wonder if these North African elephants were genetically Indian elephants or African elephants. It seems almost more likely that Hannibal would have been able to get elephants from the east much more easily than from sub-Saharan Africa.

It's not like sub-Saharan African cultures didn't have plenty of other domesticated animals like dogs or even large cats.

Are African elephants just more wild, or what?


Oh, and in before thatsracist.gif
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:00:22 AM EDT
The Indian elephant has been domesticated for centuries and used for all sorts of things from simple transportation to hard labor and warfare.

What the fuck are you going to do with an elephant that you can't do with a horse, bulldozer or tank?
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:04:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
The Indian elephant has been domesticated for centuries and used for all sorts of things from simple transportation to hard labor and warfare.

What the fuck are you going to do with an elephant that you can't do with a horse, bulldozer or tank?

Horse? No comparison. You'd need several horses to pull the same weight and horses can't move logs with their snouts.

Bulldozer? Not exactly a fair comparison but if you're concerned about not tearing up the earth while you move something heavy an elephant might have a slight advantage.

Tank? Come on. Tanks have barely been around for 100 years. Elephants were the tanks of the world for centuries.

FWIW, I was more interested in the historical aspect, not modern day usage.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:06:21 AM EDT
I think African elephants are semi-nomadic due to the sparse food supply, so if you domesticated one you'd have to bring in food from a wide area, making it a non-starter.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:08:01 AM EDT
Cause they are harder than hell to house break.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:09:17 AM EDT
That's a good question, since African elephants are larger they'd even have more trunk space.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:09:33 AM EDT
My understanding is that Hannibal had both African, and at least one Indian elephant. "Old Surus", was an Indian elephant which came to Hannibal by way of Syria, which is where it got its name. This was the longest lived of Hannibal's elephants.

Coins from the period show men standing next to an elephant, and the size is appropriate to African elephants.

These African elephants were not sub-Saharan, and I believe were all killed off by the Romans circa 3rd centuray AD.

Hannibal was an extremely effective military leader, but his elephants were not of much use once the initial shock wore off.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:10:49 AM EDT
They are much larger than asian elephants, and eat a ton of food. This is in a part of the world where humans could barely feed themselves.

Look at where they naturally occur also, people in that area were not as advanced as those in Asia who "domesticated" the Asian elephant thousands of years ago.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:12:57 AM EDT
I think it is because they are just plain ornerier than hell.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:15:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By LePew:
I think African elephants are semi-nomadic due to the sparse food supply, so if you domesticated one you'd have to bring in food from a wide area, making it a non-starter.


This assumes the elephant will never throw a temper tantrum and pound/sidewalk slam you like it is attempting to beat dust out of a rug. Also as I understand it they are quite aggressive and territorial.

IIRC aside form the hippo the elephant is among the most lethal animals in Africa.

Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:16:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jeffsenpai:
They are much larger than asian elephants, and eat a ton of food. This is in a part of the world where humans could barely feed themselves.

Look at where they naturally occur also, people in that area were not as advanced as those in Asia who "domesticated" the Asian elephant thousands of years ago.

I hadn't thought much about them being much larger than their Indian cousins. Good point.

I wonder how much the domesticated elephant helped the Asian cultures advance - kind of a chicken/egg theory with regard to elephant domestication and cultural development.

Would those African cultures have advanced more quickly if they had domesticated the elephant?
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:17:13 AM EDT
Can't feed themselves, much less a friggin elephant.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:20:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TerribleTom:
Yesterday I ate lunch at a Thai place that had a lot of elephant-themed artwork. They had one piece that depicted elephants being used to drag logs and I got to thinking about domesticated elephants.

The Indian elephant has been domesticated for centuries and used for all sorts of things from simple transportation to hard labor and warfare.

Hannibal was from Carthage (that's North Africa for the geographically challenged) and he had war elephants that went to Europe to fight Romans. I wonder if these North African elephants were genetically Indian elephants or African elephants. It seems almost more likely that Hannibal would have been able to get elephants from the east much more easily than from sub-Saharan Africa.

It's not like sub-Saharan African cultures didn't have plenty of other domesticated animals like dogs or even large cats.

Are African elephants just more wild, or what?


Oh, and in before thatsracist.gif


As I understand it a wounded elephant is as likely to kill you and friendlies as the they are the enemy.

Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:22:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:24:18 AM EDT
You know how hard it would be to get elephant shit out of your living room carpet?
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:24:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/19/2011 9:25:23 AM EDT by retgarr]
I think there is a temperament issue. Many African animals are harder to domesticate than their counterparts around the world. People look at Zebras and say "why were they never domesticated? They are a lot like mules or horses.". And the answer is, people have tried to domesticate Zebras. But they are a lot more wild. You would be too if you had evolved living around all the predators that are in Africa. (Actually, I guess we kinda did evolve around that. And I think it's safe to say, we are the most dangerous creature around)
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:26:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/19/2011 9:27:14 AM EDT by Mattl]
Originally Posted By retgarr:
I think there is a temperament issue. Many African animals are harder to domesticate than their counterparts around the world. People look at Zebras and say "why were they never domesticated? They are a lot like mules or horses.". And the answer is, people have tried to domesticate Zebras. But they are a lot more wild. You would be too if you had evolved living around all the predators that are in Africa.



Brings to mind and old thread I saw here, College student in trouble after doing "Why was the Zebra never domesticated" research paper thread.

Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:30:43 AM EDT
Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, Hannibal's African elephants were smaller than Indian elephants. He only had the one Indian elephant, "Old Surus", (The Old Syrian).

Hannibal's African elephants were not the same as sub-Saharan elephants.

Hannibal's poor experience with elephants may have contributed to a lack of desire to attempt to domesticate more in Europe and North Africa.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:33:54 AM EDT
You kiddin' me? Have you seen the size of the litter box?
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:34:36 AM EDT
May be more about who would be domesticating them in modern times.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:35:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By grendelbane:
Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, Hannibal's African elephants were smaller than Indian elephants. He only had the one Indian elephant, "Old Surus", (The Old Syrian).

Hannibal's African elephants were not the same as sub-Saharan elephants.

Hannibal's poor experience with elephants may have contributed to a lack of desire to attempt to domesticate more in Europe and North Africa.



Wiki seems to suggest the variety Hannibal used is extinct if I read that correctly.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:36:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Desertrun:
May be more about who would be domesticating them in modern times.


I guess in a 3rd world enviornment they could be the most heavy duty pack mule ever.

Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:38:27 AM EDT
Their ears are too large.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:40:08 AM EDT
I saw a show about using elephants for anti poaching patrols. I believe it was an experimental program in Botswana, but I can't find anything about it.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:42:24 AM EDT
It's not like sub-Saharan African cultures didn't have plenty of other domesticated animals like dogs or even large cats.

According to this, they haven't done much of the domestication themselves.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:46:06 AM EDT
Well, I dunno about the temperament of African vs. Asian elephants.

But many people have observed that the zebra has never been domesticated either.

Make of that what you will.

LC
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 9:52:22 AM EDT
I bet a bull African elephant would make any circus a lot more entertaining.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 10:04:34 AM EDT
The weigh 6 tons abd shit the size of a mini cooper
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 10:17:08 AM EDT
As others have said, they are nomadic. They basically walk in a big circle for a year, that is several hundred miles in size.

Having said that, WTF are they going to use it for?

Some of the local domesticated animals seen in Mali, Niger, and other African places-

Goats- Food that will eat anything

Donkey- Transportation/labor

Camels- Transportation

Horse- Transportation

What good would an elephant do? There are no big forests to chop down. A donkey is a better farm animal.



Link Posted: 3/19/2011 10:45:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 10:58:04 AM EDT
I don't think that the people native to sub Sahara Africa domesticated anything much less an elephant.

Goats,donkeys,cattle were introduced. They themselves aren't domesticated.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 11:06:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/19/2011 11:06:44 AM EDT by piciphant]
how many coconuts can an elephant carry?
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 11:06:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BigBore45:
I don't think that the people native to sub Sahara Africa domesticated anything much less an elephant.

Goats,donkeys,cattle were introduced. They themselves aren't domesticated.


my comment exactly.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 11:07:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TerribleTom:
Yesterday I ate lunch at a Thai place that had a lot of elephant-themed artwork. They had one piece that depicted elephants being used to drag logs and I got to thinking about domesticated elephants.

The Indian elephant has been domesticated for centuries and used for all sorts of things from simple transportation to hard labor and warfare.

Hannibal was from Carthage (that's North Africa for the geographically challenged) and he had war elephants that went to Europe to fight Romans. I wonder if these North African elephants were genetically Indian elephants or African elephants. It seems almost more likely that Hannibal would have been able to get elephants from the east much more easily than from sub-Saharan Africa.

It's not like sub-Saharan African cultures didn't have plenty of other domesticated animals like dogs or even large cats.

Are African elephants just more wild, or what?


Oh, and in before thatsracist.gif


Elephants eat a LOT of food...
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 11:19:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/19/2011 11:21:32 AM EDT by BigBore45]


does this answer your question?
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 11:26:31 AM EDT
neither african nor indian elephants have been successfully domesticated––they just don't do well in that environment. working elephants are captured in the wild and trained.
Link Posted: 3/19/2011 11:54:24 AM EDT


Not exactly, no.

Especially when contrasted with this:


or this:

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