Pygmy Elephants - On the track of the world's largest dwarfs
the book by Matt Salusbury, published by CFZ Press, December 2013
Since the dawn of the twentieth century – and possibly earlier – reports came from the deep forests of Africa of "pygmy elephants" as little as five feet (1.5m) tall at the shoulder.
There were pygmy elephant sightings, and alleged pygmy elephant skulls and skins were sent to Europe's museums. There were even some living elephants of the pygmy species Loxodonta pumilio on display in zoos. Circus showman PT Barnum had pygmy elephants in his menagerie, and pygmy elephant sightings – with photos and film footage - continued into the 1980s.
The author travelled to India to interview eyewitnesses to kallana – the mystery five-feet tall elephant whose name translates as the "stone elephant" because it scrambles with such agility over rocks. This book includes photos of kallana never before reproduced outside India.
And research for this book uncovered pygmy elephant skulls that had lain forgotten in a museum store for over half a century.
This investigation also takes in the confusing differences between the known species of modern African elephant, and possible hybrid elephants. The pygmy elephants, it turns out, may not be all that they seem…
All this, and a mystery tree crab too!
ZOOLOGY/HISTORY OF SCIENCE
ISBN 978-1-909488-15-1, paperback, 314 pages, index, bibliography, glossary, 153 illustrations.
Published 10 December 2013.
£12.50 including P&P from Amazon UK
From Amazon in the US, see here
How to order
Introductory offer - via the CFZ blog
Also on sale at the Big Green Bookshop, London N22 and Freedom Bookshop, London E1
"This is THE natural mystery tour! If you enjoy thrillers or natural history, then this is for you… Put natural history, mystery and a tour of some of the world's most remote habitats together and this is the result. Yes, it is greater than the sum of the parts and no, it's never dry... What at one point reminded me of a school nature trail for seven-year-olds, but on a truly continental scale.
...Expect the unexpected. This is a howdunnit, a wheredunnit and an ecological who-hid-it. As for the ending? That's a natural mystery too."
Adam C, Amazon UK
Darren Naish @TetZoo (Tetrapod Zoology blog, Scientific American)
"Most recently, the water elephant saga was revisited by British cryptozoological investigator Matt Salusbury in his extremely comprehensive book Pygmy Elephants..."
Dr Karl P.N. Shuker's ShukerNature blog
"On a fascinating subject that has gathered much controversy and yet very little comprehensive coverage in the literature"
Dale Drinnon's influential Frontiers of Zoology blog