Yeah, I know I haven’t exactly been a prolific Internet contributor in recent months. I’m retired, you see, and there are places to go, people to see, and golf courses to conquer. Today, though, I interrupt your Internet travels because I’ve come up with a twist to an interesting story that is guaranteed to get liberal boxers in a bunch. This is an opportunity I just cannot pass up .. so be sure to read to the very end here. Besides, I need to get in a few more licks before 0bama completely hands over the control of the Internet to the United Nations.
We’re going to talk about elephants. Not the GOP kind of elephant, but actual big-eared lumbering wild African elephants (loxodonta Africana) living in Africa, as African elephants are predisposed to do.
These particular elephants are living in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, where they have been the subjects of some rather extensive studies by people who extensively study elephants. I learned of the results of these studies reading an article by Virginia Morell of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Let’s get to the (elephant) meat of this study.
The elephants in question are living in close proximity to two different African tribes; the Maasai and the Kamba. The men from these tribes differ in dress, language, and, more importantly, how they treat the elephants. Maasai men sometimes kill the elephants. It seems the Maasai don’t particularly appreciate the elephants attacking Maasai tribesmen and their cows. The Kamba men, on the other hand, are gentle farmers who live among, but do not threaten, the elephants. Perhaps they don’t own cows.
Please understand that the Maasai men do not attack the elephants every time they encounter one, and some Maasai men, perhaps the majority, will never find cause to try to kill an elephant. The elephants know, however, that a greater threat exists from Maasai than from Kamba.
So, how does this affect elephant behavior?
Maasai men like to wear red robes. Kamba men do not. So when the elephants see men in red robes approaching they react defensively. Usually they flee, or they will form defensive perimeters around their young. When the Kamba approach the elephants seem to be completely unconcerned and just go about their business.
The elephants don’t just notice the difference in dress. They’re also tuned into to differences in human dialect. The Maasai and Kamba have distinctive vocal and dialect differences … at least distinctive enough that these elephants can recognize them. The researchers played a recordings of Maasai and Kamba men saying “Look, look over there. A group of elephants is coming.” When the elephants heard the recordings of the Kamba men they took notice but exhibited no untoward fear or anxiety. When they heard the voices of the Maasai men the reaction was different. The elephants fled and once again moved to protect their young.
Karen McComb, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Sussex in England explained the elephant behavior upon hearing the recordings of the Maasai and Kamba. “Cognitively, they know what they’re doing, she said, “and they adjust their reaction to exactly what they’re hearing.”
OK … what’s going on here? We have elephants altering their behavior when encountering different African tribesmen. Sometimes the elephants go into a defensive mode based upon a visual clue, the red robes, or speech patterns. Other visual and aural clues cause them no distress whatsoever.
Has it struck you yet? Come on, folks. This really isn’t that difficult. These elephants are PROFILING! They’re basing their reaction to encountering different groups of men based on past experience. Members of one group are more likely to be dangerous to the elephants than members of the other, and the elephants react accordingly.
I’m afraid that to get through to the irrational mind of a liberal, I have to state the obvious here.
There is no real difference in the elephant’s negative and defensive reaction to the red robes of the Maasai than a person’s reaction to someone wearing a hoodie or gang apparel on the street. There is no real difference between an elephant’s heightened sense of alert upon hearing a particular speech pattern over our reaction to hearing dialects identifiable as coming from inner city gangster culture. Skin color? Not a factor. In case you don’t already know this; the Maasai and the Kamba are both black. (Can’t really call them African Americans for obvious reasons. Well … maybe not so obvious to liberals.)
Experience instructs. People -- and elephants -- learn.
When elephants exhibit this behavior in the wild it’s an occasion for marveling at their intelligence. When humans exhibit this behavior in high crime areas, it’s called racism.