073 – Prof Roger Short – Asian Elephants Part 1

In this episode, which is the first part of a 2 part interview, I talk to Professor Roger Short from the University of Melbourne on Asian Elephants. We discuss what got Professor Short interested in elephants to start with, his quest on finding out why elephants have a trunk, the evolution of elephants and their unusual lungs, and what the biggest threat to elephants are today.

Some images courtesy of Professor Short:

Rudyard Kipling
The image from Rudyard Kipling that Professor Short mentions in the interview

A tiny elephant embryo

The tooth of a mammoth

A 100,000 year old tusk of a mammoth, dredged up from the North Sea! Yes, I was privileged enough to hold it!

Download MP3 of Ep 73

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4 Comments to “073 – Prof Roger Short – Asian Elephants Part 1”

  1. SCIENCEPODCASTERS.ORG » Brains Matter Episode 73 - Asian Elephants Part 1 Says:

    […] Listen in to this episode to hear the first part of the discussion with Professor Short. […]

  2. Ginger Campbell, MD Says:

    This is a fascinating interview. I can’t wait to hear the second half.

    I love elephants but I don’t know that much about them. I was very surprised to learn that elephants seem to have evolved from an aquatic ancestor.

    It is also disturbing to know that Asian elephants are in grave danger of extinction, but not for the reasons most people would expect.

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    Brain Science Podcast

  3. Ian Kath Says:

    I have to reference to this TED lecture about the theory that like the elephant we humans also had an aquatic past. It stuns me as much as what I learnt on this episode about elephants and like this and the next episode of Brains Matter this TED lecture is riveting.

  4. brainsmatter Says:


    Thanks for that link – it’s all fascinating stuff isn’t it?


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