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Water From Elephants

Humans have kept elephants for thousands of years, longer than we’ve domesticated chickens. Yet the great animals’ capacity to cry for freedom comes as a shock.

There is an old Tamil proverb: “Even an elephant can slip.” It is not a challenging metaphor to parse out—even the greatest beasts may fall. And when they do, the impact is ground-shaking. After all, their physical magnitude is biblically ordained: “Behold now Behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox… His bones are as strong as pieces of brass; his limbs are like bars of iron” (Job 40:15-18).

And yet, despite inch-thick skin and bones like brass, Behemoth feels pain—great pain. And has a corresponding capacity for great relief. His nerves function like those of any other warm-blooded creature; bundling and fraying, crackling with neuro-electric energy. And when that signal ascends the spinal column, arriving at the thalamus and dispersing to the various cortexes that register hurt and reprieve, Behemoth may even shed a tear or two.

When Raju the Indian elephant was unshackled from the chains that bound his “bars of iron” for more than five decades, rescuers observed what they described as “gushes of liquid” pouring forth from the animal’s... Continue Reading

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Today’s Headlines

Aug 01
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