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Short-term and delayed effects of mother death on calf mortality in Asian elephants
- Lahdenperä, Mirkka, Mar, Khyne U., Lummaa, Virpi
- Behavioral ecology 2016 v.27 no.1 pp. 166-174
- Elephas maximus, calves, death, longevity, mortality, mothers, progeny, reproduction
- Like humans, elephants are long lived, invest heavily in offspring, and often survive well past last birth, but why do postreproductive lifespans evolve? We show that the proposed higher costs of reproduction to survival of old mothers and need for long parental care of offspring are insufficient to explain the full length of postreproductive lifespan in Asian elephants. Further studies are needed to quantify the evolutionary pressures on postreproductive survival in elephants and other long-lived species.