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Elephants

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Robert H. I. Dale

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Calf Development: Most Births At Night, Robert H.I. Dale Jun 2014

Calf Development: Most Births At Night, Robert H.I. Dale

Robert H. I. Dale

For many years, field researchers studying both African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximas) elephants have indicated that they have observed relatively few births in situ, suggesting that most elephant dams give birth at night. For example, according to Cynthia Moss, "Possibly the majority of births occur at night and perhaps those that do take place in the daytime happen in secluded places" (1988, p. 151). Others, for example, Clive Spinage, have referred to "the old beliefs that the cows retreated to 'calving grounds' or that birth took place at night." (Spinage, 1994, p. 90). Although observers in several areas …