An adult African elephant, the largest land animal on Earth, can weigh as much as two tons. Their activities—walking, playing, even bellowing—might shake the ground beneath them. But research in the journal Current Biology finds that the signals from an elephant’s walk are capable of traveling as far as three kilometers, while a roaring bull, or male elephant, might be detectable a full six kilometers away with just seismological monitoring tools.
Biologist Beth Mortimer and seismologist Tarje Nissen-Meyer, both at the University of Oxford and co-authors of the new research, describe the signals they captured in the ground and explain how a network of seismological sensors might help us study elephants from a distance, and even protect endangered elephants from poaching.
Margaret Atwood On The Science Behind ‘Oryx And Crake’
Author Margaret Atwood’s book, Oryx and Crake is set in a post-pandemic world and a genetically engineered dystopian future. In this archival interview, recorded in April 2004, Atwood says science is “a tool for expressing and perfecting human desires—and sometimes it’s a tool for counteracting human fears.” She talks about how she pulls inspiration for her ‘speculative fiction’ from news headlines, and discusses how her entomologist father influenced her writing.