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For the first time in history, scientists have released findings including photographic and post mortem evidence of Asian elephants deliberately burying the dead bodies of their calves in North Bengal, India.

Five calves were documented as case studies, being found in drainage ditches at tee-growing estates, with all four legs protruding from the ground.

Stock photo: Asian elephants

The journal shares some fascinating findings: 'carcasses were carried by trunks and legs for a distance before being buried in a ‘legs-upright-position’... the carcasses were buried in an abnormal recumbent style irrespective of the reason for the calf’s death...the elephants in this region clearly avoid the paths where carcasses were buried.'

The details from the five case studies in the journal give further insight into how elephants behave in the wild, when they are free to enact their most natural and crucial practices. This new evidence highlights the intelligence, emotional capacity and compassion held by elephants, and reminds us that there is still so much about their lives in the wild that we are yet to discover.

You can find out more and see some of the powerful photographs from the study in these articles:


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