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Re[4]: Swimming mammoths and climate change



Thomas R. Lipka writes

>I'm sure if the shark subject lasts long enough 
>someone will delurk and set us straight ;-)

Resolved: Wagner = Not shark expert :{)>
     
>Don't remember seeing the silhouette (my meory must be fading) but
>the mount of just the _jaws_ overhanging the staircase to the
>giiftshop was impressive.

The jaws are at the front end (appropriately enough) of a silhouette plaque 
on the near wall.  I'm not surprised you didn't see it, you probably assumed 
it WAS the wall.
     
>I have seen shows with elephants crossing rivers with just their
>trunks above water but there are no sharks or comparable predators
>to worry about there except maybe a large croc. But scale up your
>body of water to the size of an ocean strait with its strong
>currents and very capable large predators and I think you will see
>what I mean. To me it just don't add up and 26 miles of swimming?!

See other postings about elephant swimming endurance.  See my prior 
posting about herds.  The author of _The Aquatic Ape_ has some 
interesting theories about elephants being secondarily terrestrial, 
btw.

>Ok. Let's say that one or two individuals from each heard make it to
>Catalina. They probably are genetically related and or of the same
>sex. The next problem is the _gene_pool_. Very early on
>interbreeding will take place leading to often fatal mutations and
>unviable offspring.  Sounds like a dead end to me! IMHO

I live in VA, we know all about this.  I think you missed my point...  
If one or two groups do this every year, eventually there'll be a 
breeding population.  Actually, with elephant's lifespans, I wouldn't 
be surprised if one or two small herds a decade wouldn't do it.
     
>In summary the factors aginst are;
>1)To far to swim  (26 miles)

Someone else will have to answer this, but isn't the English Channel around 26 
miles?  And a pitiful human (granted a buff one) can swim that...

>2)Ocean Currents and maritime weather

Only takes one good day a year.  Maybe they know when to stay out of the water 
("Wait at least thirty minutes after stripping a tree bare")

>3)Sharks and Orcas who's feeding frenzies would take out the entire lumbering 
>lot

See prior postings about feeding frenzies, and about your characterization of 
them as "lumbering".

>4)Very low survival assuming any reached at all

This seems to be a repeat of the above.  If not, please explain.

>5)Inevitable interbreeding leading to genetic mutation, sterility and 
>extinction!

I was kindof assuming larger groups would make it, see above.
:)

BTW:  I believe the commercial we've all seen is for Diet Coke (tm, r, c, lp).

As to the question of why elephants might swim large bodies of water to 
islands, I subscribe to the "Crichton" Theory (elephants are dinosaurs [see 
many previous postings on "what is a dinosaur", then pretend your a lay 
science writter], dinosaurs are birds, birds migrate, elephants migrate).
;)