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Beginning with a survey of the 60-million year evolutionary history of the proboscideans and emphasizing the role of climate and vegetation change in throwing up a surprising array of species, the book discusses the possible role of humans in the late Pleistocene extinction of mastodons and mammoths. It then presents the latest information on the molecular genetics of African and Asian elephants and its taxonomic implications. It deals with the social life of elephants as it relates to reproductive strategies of males and females, development of behaviour in young, communication, ranging patterns, societal organisation, foraging strategies and their impact on vegetation and landscape, the dynamics and viability of elephant populations in relation to hunting for ivory, and all aspects of elephant-human interaction. The final chapter contains recommendations for the long-term conservation of elephants.