elephant stand

PROBOSCIDEANS

Whilst we all know that modern elephants are beautiful and remarkable creatures, few may be familiar with the order of which they are from, Proboscidea. Proboscidea not only contains the elephantids, but a whole range of diverse mammals, some reaching magnificent sizes and each one more intriguing than the last.

Deinotherium 

Deinotherium quite literally means “terrible beast” and they trawled the savannah-like Miocene landscape. Deinotheriums most striking feature is certainly its menacing downward facing tusks, a complete skull found in the nineteenth century measured at just under a metre in length, the skull also showed very deep nasal bones suggesting it had a much wider and shorter trunk than modern elephants. The reason for the unusual orientation of the tusks has been debated, perhaps they were purely for attracting mates or maybe they had a vital role in stripping tree bark to eat. Deinotherium was quite a bit larger than modern elephants standing a whopping 4 metres tall (almost as tall as a double decker bus) and weighing in at an estimate 11-14 tonnes.

Palaeoxodon namadicus 

Palaeoxodon namadicus, otherwise known as the Asian straight-tusked elephant lived during the pleistocene. Little is known about these species and whether it is a species on its own rather than a subspecies within Palaeoxodon antiquus, yet is is known from a thigh bone over 5 foot in length which indicates a possible height of over 4.5 metres which would make Palaeoxodon namadicus the largest land mammal to have ever existed surpassing Deinotherium and Paraceratherium.

Gompotherium 

Gompotherium is another highly unusual member of the proboscidea. Gompotherium stood around 3 metres high and had 4 tusks extending straight from its jaw, the two bottom tusks are flattened and shovel-shaped leading to suggesting that they were used in digging and finding food. Gompotherium is believed to be the first of the proboscideans to escape its homeland and migrate towards north america, mammoths would eventually evolve from the shovel-tusked creature. Although they are unfamiliar to most, they were very successful and flourished in north america for over 10 million years (during the miocene and pliocene). Their demise coincides with the rise of todays modern elephants, perhaps they were outcompeted to extinction.

Stegodon

Stegodon stood at around 3.5 metres tall and weighing in a 12 tonnes, however it is not this beasts size that is hard to comprehend, but its enormous tusks which could reach a whopping 3 metres in length. Stegodons thrived in the golden age of elephants 11 million years ago, exactly when they died out is a mystery, some believe they contained to roam across north america as little as a few thousand years ago.

Mammoths

Mammoths are amongst the most recognisable prehistoric creatures, they were extremely successful and thrived during the ice age thanks to their masses of fur, migration patterns and small ears. They died out around 4500 years ago when the ice age came to an end, although it is widely thought that humans contributed to their reduction in numbers as we fed on their meat, wore their fur and used their immense tusks and skin for shelter. The largest known species of mammoths could reach 4 metres in height and weigh up to 7 or 8 tonnes and they travelled in herds much like modern elephants. Incredibly well preserved specimens have been found across the world in peat bogs and permafrost preserving skin, hair and some organs in immaculate condition, this has led to multiple projects hoping to bring back the mammoth, although this is still highly controversial.

Elephants

All modern elephants are the only relic from the glorious evolutionary history of the proboscideans that we have left. They can reach 4 metres in height and weigh up 7 tonnes. Their tusks are used in competing for mates as well as for feeding and the trunks, perhaps the most recognisable feature of any animal, are analogous to human hands, they are used to grab things, communicate and sense their environment. Elephants travel in close herds led by a matriarch and have been shown to display emotions of grief when a valued member dies, their social structure is incredibly sophisticated and complex, when a matriarchs reign is over, their is a specific order of individuals to take her place, usually the eldest daughter. Separate families of elephants have even been known to form bonds with each other and socialise in passing.
Elephants have long been attractive to humans, their skin has been sold, their tusks highly valued for decoration and medicine. Elephants have been relentlessly hunted by humans, so much so that in in the twentieth century their numbers declined by 74% in ten years. Over the last few decades multiple conservation efforts have been put in place to save these magnificent creatures from extinction, their population numbers have shown slight increases since the efforts began.

The proboscideans have been, and are still, one of the most remarkable groups in the animal kingdom. They have been incredibly successful since their first appearance over 40 million years ago, with only the elephants remaining we must save these wonderful animals from extinction for future generations to see and to continue the reign of one of the most spectacular dynasties in the animal kingdom.

I cannot stand small talk, because I feel like there’s an elephant standing in the room shitting all over everything and nobody is saying anything. I’m just dying to say, ‘Hey, do you ever feel like jumping off a bridge?’ or 'Do you feel an emptiness inside your chest at night that is going to swallow you?’ But you can’t say that at a…party.
—  Paul Gilmartin, The Mental Illness Happy Hour

They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle.
They say that the elephants, being such huge beasts, have bones of rock and iron, and nerves of gold for better conductivity over long distances.*
They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains.
No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical point: When millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, but there is no one to hear it, does it – philosophically speaking – make a noise?
And if there was no one to see it hit, did it actually hit?
In other words, wasn’t it just a story for children, to explain away some interesting natural occurrences?
As for the dwarfs, whose legend it is, and who mine a lot deeper than other people, they say that there is a grain of truth in it.

*Not rock and iron in their dead form, as they are now, but living rock and iron. The dwarfs have quite an inventive mythology about minerals.

– on the fifth elephant | Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

Photograph from an album of 80 albumen prints taken by Eugene Clutterbuck Impey [1860s]. View of massive carved Jain image, with canopy supported by elephants. An Indian figure stands at the base of the statue to indicate scale. The location is the little town of Paranagar near the Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in Rajasthan, known for its ruined temples. British Library

Look down the long valley and there stands a mountain
That someone has said is the end of the world.
Then what of this river that having arisen
Must find where to pour itself into and empty?
I never saw so much swift water run cloudless.
Oh, I have been often too anxious for rivers
To leave it to them to get out of their valleys.
The truth is the river flows into the canyon
Of Ceasing-to Question-What-Doesn’t-Concern-Us,
As sooner of later we have to cease somewhere.
No place to get lost like too far in the distance.
It may be a mercy the dark closes round us
So broodingly soon in every direction.
The world as we know is an elephant’s howdah;
The elephant stands on the back of a turtle;
The turtle in turn on a rock in the ocean.
And how much longer a story has science
Before she must put out the light on the children
And tell them the rest of the story is dreaming?
‘You children may dream it and tell it tomorrow.’
Time was we were molten, time was we were vapor.
What set us on fire and what set us revolving,
Lucretius the Epicurean might tell us
'Twas something we knew all about to begin with
And needn’t have fared into space like his master
To find 'twas the effort, the essay of love.
—  Robert Frost, “Too Anxious for Rivers” (my favorite for World Poetry Day)

“You’re going to be bad for business, I can tell.”

@lesetoilesfous requested Moulin Rouge!Kuroken and I died a thousand deaths of happiness. 

painsalligot replied to your post “pullingrank replied to your photo // for the love…”

One does not “take” Mycroft on a date :D Besides, I am sure everyone wants to see a genetically modified, resurrected elephant bird wearing a lovely wig ;)

[ I can honestly see nothing but beautiful advantages to this enhancement of Mycroft’s love life. And no, @pullingrank​, elephant bird is not “a little tall” for Mycroft. No one is allowed to slander the government’s gorgeous spouse. ]

I cannot stand small talk, because I feel like there’s an elephant standing in the room shitting all over everything and nobody is saying anything. I’m just dying to say, “Hey, do you ever feel like jumping off a bridge?” or “Do you feel an emptiness inside your chest at night that is going to swallow you?” But you can’t say that at a cocktail party.
—  Paul Gilmartin, The Mental Illness Happy Hour

“Trying not to think about you is like trying not to think about an elephant that’s standing on my chest.”

“I can’t decide if that is a compliment.”

“Me neither.” -Carry On.

*finds corner, sobs in said corner* I love these dorks!

Art reference by cloven.

Letter To My Unborn Child By Heather Leughmyer

“You’ll never watch an elephant standing on her head
You will see amazing acrobats and painted clowns instead.
You’ll never color Easter eggs or eat a “Happy” Meal
Instead you’ll give pigs belly rubs – You’ll know chickens dream and feel.

The clamor from the ice cream truck won’t be music to your ears
You will know your Soy Delicious caused no suffering or tears.

You may hear a gentle gobble as you softly stroke a turkey
And give thanks that she’s alive as you’re eating your Tofurky.

While other kids buy leather shoes and eat at Chuck E. Cheese
You’ll be kissing cows and feeding goats and saying “soy please!”

Being different can be hard I know - This world is often cruel
Maybe you’ll be laughed at by the other kids at school.

But compassion is a vital gift that too few share with others
And your heart will not be filled with guilt the way it plagues your mother’s.

So don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed because you care
You’ll be uniquely beautiful with an empathy that’s rare.

And when you see a rescued lamb and touch his thick warm fleece
You’ll feel no sadness or remorse – You can look at him in peace.

What took so long for me to learn, I’ll start teaching you from birth
And your footprint will be much tinier on this fragile earth.”

I cannot stand small talk, because I feel like there’s an elephant standing in the room shitting all over everything and nobody is saying anything. I’m just dying to say, “Hey, do you ever feel like jumping off a bridge?” or “Do you feel an emptiness inside your chest at night that is going to swallow you?” But you can’t say that at a cocktail party.
—  Paul Gilmartin
5

Secret Garden - Solange Azagury-Partridge

“A collection of five precious objects designed as jewellery boxes. The box becomes the jewels.

A greenhouse of enamel plique-à-jour with gold structures forming geometric motifs [first two photos]. A small bird on the roof is ready to fly away. The walls taken apart form two identical cuffs for the wrist and the roof becomes a bowl for marshmallows [third photo]. The floor is paved with diamond, opal and obsidian and, when pulled out, its centre becomes a pendant [fifth photo]. This miniature Orangerie has trees, statuary and a bench to sit on and contemplate life. Some shoes have been left behind after a party. An umbrella is left in an elephant foot stand in case it is raining when you leave [fourth photo].This hothouse sits on a lotus leaf made of rose quartz and aventurine.”

More Solange Azagury-Partridge here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

A Guide to Discworld

So you have decided to read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Congratulations, you are about to enter a wonderful fictional world with some of the most hilarious and endearing characters I have ever read. However it is a daunting task with 41 books in the main series and 6 sub-series within it. Maybe you have seen a useful diagram on the reading order or something similar. Just to help even more, here is my guide to Discworld:

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