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Elephant Graves Were Thought To Be A Myth, But Scientists Can Prove They Participate In Burial Rituals

EmmaStock - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

In some parts of Asia and Africa, it is said that a mythical elephant graveyard scattered with valuable ivory lies in a super secret location, just waiting to be found.

According to folklore, dying elephants will head to the graveyard to pass in peace instead of potentially slowing down the rest of the herd in their travels.

Explorers have hunted for the site for hundreds of years, but no one has been successful in finding it.

The unfruitful searches have raised questions about the idea of elephant graveyards. Perhaps they don’t really exist. There’s no evidence that elephants seek out specific locations when they’re ready to die.

However, large numbers of elephant remains have been found to be concentrated within a small area before, which may have contributed to the legend.

Recently, Indian scientists documented five instances in which Asian elephant calves have been found buried on their backs with their legs pointed toward the sky. The study was published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

The calves were no more than a year old and were buried in irrigation trenches on tea estates in northern Bengal, India.

The surrounding ground was packed down by the feet of several elephants, showing that other herd members had dragged the calves’ bodies to these premade pits and covered them with soil.

The unusual positioning of the calves and the dragging of the bodies suggest that elephants perform intentional burial practices.

EmmaStock – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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