All About Elephants: Are They Just Like Us?

Harvard University Medical School

Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell has studied African elephants in the wild for almost thirty years. She is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, where she hopes to help the hearing impaired with lessons learned from elephants. She also is a Research Affiliate at Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. Dr. O’Connell-Rodwell has authored eight popular books about elephants and two thrillers about the ivory trade, and was the focus of the award-winning Smithsonian documentary, Elephant King. She is the CEO of the nonprofit organization, Utopia Scientific, focused on elephant conservation, science messaging and education.


Why are we so fascinated by elephants? Are they really as smart as people say they are? Did you know that elephants grow up in a matriarchal society where the politics of family is strikingly similar to our own?  During this course, Dr. O’Connell-Rodwell will take you on a journey to her long-term elephant field study within Etosha National Park in Namibia, where she has studied the resident elephant population for almost 30 years. Through evocative images and video sequences, she will present and discuss her findings about elephant societies and their parallels to our own and show you how to identify individual elephants and experience their “character.”



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