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These animals are well aware that the only spoil that we are anxious to procure of them is the part which forms their weapon of defence, by Juba, called their horns, but by Herodotus, a much older writer, as well as by general usage and more appropriately, their teeth.1 Hence it is that, when their tusks have fallen off, either by accident or from old age, they bury them in the earth.2 These tusks form the only real ivory, and, even in these, the part which is covered by the flesh is merely common bone, and of no value whatever; though, indeed, of late, in consequence of the insufficient supply of ivory, they have begun to cut the bones as well into thin plates. Large teeth, in fact, are now rarely found, except in India, the demands of luxury3 having exhausted all those in our part of the world. The youthfulness of the animal is ascertained by the whiteness of the teeth4 These animals take the greatest care of their teeth; they pay especial attention to the point of one of them, that it may not be found blunt when wanted for combat; the other they employ for various purposes, such as digging up roots and pushing forward heavy weights. When they are surrounded by the hunters, they place those in front which have the smallest teeth, that the enemy may think that the spoil is not worth the combat; and afterwards, when they are weary of resistance, they break off their teeth, by dashing them against a tree, and in this manner pay their ransom.5

1 As to the tusks of the elephant, no doubt the opinion of Herodotus, B. iii. c. 97, is correct, that they are teeth, and not horns. They are essentially composed of the same substance with the other teeth, and, like them, are inserted into the jaw, and not into the os frontis, as. is the case with horns.—B.

2 Not improbably, the great quantity of fossil ivory which has been found, may have given rise to this tale. We have in Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 581, a long extract from Cuvier's "Recherches sur les ossements fossiles," in which he gives an account of the parts of the world in which the bones of the elephant have been discovered.—B.

3 Tables and bedsteads were not only covered or veneered with ivory among the Romans, but, in the later times, made of the solid material, as we learn from Ælian and Athenæus.

4 Plutarch, in his treatise on the Shrewdness of Animals, gives the same statement respecting the whiteness of the teeth in the young animal. —B.

5 It is scarcely necessary to remark, that these statements respecting the sagacity of the elephant in connection with their teeth, are without foundation.—B.

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