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Re: THOSE ELEPHANTS ARE NOT GETTING FASTER



Just another thing.  There was a show out not to long ago on FOX called
When Animals Attack.  In the program they show a rampaging elephant that
killed on person.  The elephant was moving extremely fast; faster than most
of the people trying to out run it.  I believe the video is out now, and it
shows the kind of damage that can be done when an elephant goes on a full
charge.
<<<Disclaimer: The program is not for those with weak stomachs.  It is not
a pleasant show to watch but, if you are interested in animal behavior it
is interesting to see.>>>

----------
> From: Jonathon Woolf <jwoolf@erinet.com>
> To: GSP1954@aol.com
> Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: THOSE ELEPHANTS ARE NOT GETTING FASTER
> Date: Tuesday, September 30, 1997 10:36 PM
> 
> GSP1954@aol.com wrote:
> 
> <snip>
> 
> > Elephants do not, as Jonathon suggested, pace like giraffes, camels or
> > trained horses. A pace is the functional equivalent of a trot, and
includes a
> > suspended phase. The elephantine amble is a slightly modified and sped
up
> > walk that includes no suspended phase, because at least one foot always
> > contacts the ground.
> 
> Uh, Greg?  I realize that you're quite confident of your assertions and
> your sources, but . . . well, y'see, on very, very rare occasions, other
> people have sources too:
> 
>       "The elephant walks with an ambling gait.  The two right feet move
> forward together, then the two left.  In this it is like the camel, the
> bear, and the giraffe.  With dogs and horses, on the other hand, the
> right fore foot goes forward with the left hind foot, and vice versa.
>       "Elephants can make good speed over a short distance with a fast amble,
> and they are very much at their ease in water." -- from THE NEW LAROUSSE
> ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ANIMAL LIFE, c. 1980, p. 581.
> 
> "Are elephants dangerous to man?  Under certain conditions, decidedly
> so.  They have enormous strength and are capable of a speed estimated at
> twenty miles per hour." -- DANGEROUS TO MAN, Roger Caras, c. 1975, p. 79
> 
> "The first few strides [of an elephant's charge] are misleadingly slow;
> in a moment the pace is far in excess of any speed a man can
> approximate." -- ibid., p. 84
> 
> "Despite its colossal size, the African Elephant (and the Indian
> Elephant also) are far from being as clumsy as they might seem.  It is
> true that they do not move faster than a speed of 4 to 6 km per houyr,
> but when attacking, they can charge at a speed of 30 to 35km per hour."
> -- THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MAMMALS, p. 252. (note: this equates
> to 18-22mph, neatly bracketing the 20mph figure that Caras gave.)
> 
> KILLERS IN AFRICA by Alexander Lake (one of the last of the "white
> hunters" from the great age of hunting safaris) gives no particulars on
> an elephant's charge, but is clear that you only try to outrun a
> charging elephant if you're ready to die.  If you want to live, you take
> cover and freeze. 
> 
> I happen to know a gentleman who has spent most of his professional life
> as an elephant-keeper at various zoos; he should be able to give a
> reliable answer.  I'll drop him an e-mail and see what he says.  Until
> then, I consider the LaRousse Encyclopedia reference to be especially
> reliable, for what it's worth.  I have never found that book to be in
> error on any substantive point.  
> 
> As a more direct approach to the matter, does anyone know the length of
> an elephant's stride?  An elephant at top speed certainly takes at least
> two strides per second.  20mph = 29.333 feet per second.  I kinda doubt
> that even the largest elephant ever known could cover fifteen feet in
> one stride, but eight or ten feet per stride seems possible.  Three
> strides per second, and there's your 20mph figure.
> 
> -- JSW