The Thai Elephant Orchestra is, remarkably, just what it sounds like. At a conservation center in Thailand, made for former work animals with nowhere to go, a group of elephants has been assembled and trained to play enormous percussion instruments, holding mallets in their trunks and sometimes trumpeting along.
Fewer than 10 percent of all mammal species are monogamous. In fact, biologists have long disagreed over why monogamy exists at all. That's the subject of two studies published this week — and they come to different conclusions.
Animals that leave the most offspring win the race to spread their genes and to perpetuate their lineage. So for most mammals, males have a simple strategy: Mate with as many females as possible.
"Monogamy is a problem," says Dieter Lukas, a biologist at Cambridge University. "Why should a male keep to one female?"