1. va.terrero says

    I was at the verge of tears for a moment there.. beautiful thing indeed.

  2. Peter H says

    I found myself trying to will the little bugger to start breathing! Impressive sight.

  3. kijibaji says

    I found myself crossing my legs and hoping I don’t have to kick my future babies around the room after shooting them out in a gush of gooey birthing liquid.

    But the first steps were uber cute :-)

  4. johnathan.harrington says

    I’m not completely sure of your intention as to posting this video, as the last sentence comes off a bit mockingly.

    But that was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen

  5. Sunday Afternoon says

    Wow – waiting for the first breaths was dramatic, especially with the mother knowing what to do to help the baby start breathing.

  6. Zeno says

    Thomas Wade Fraser is an “aspergic” boy in Britain who has posted a lovely video that is perfect for Mother’s Day: spending quality time with your mum watching a video of a goat giving birth (while mum reminds you a couple of times how enormous you were when you were born).

    Check it out.

  7. omnipasje says

    That was absolutely awesome.
    I feel a bit silly but i had tears in my eyes. That moment of birth is just amazing..

  8. chgo_liz says

    That video made the rounds a while ago, along with a similar video of a giraffe giving birth.

    The lack of nearly-debilitating physical pain is what always amazes me. We pay a huge price for having such big brains.

  9. prazzie says

    Johnathan Harrington, I don’t think the idea was to mock, it was just a warning that the bruschetta with chicken livers and Bloody Mary should be enjoyed before watching all that fluid, membrane and baby elephant splurting out.

    What a great video, some tense moments there.

  10. Patricia08 says

    Ok now I’m confused. I know how this works. I’ve seen Dumbo. But where was the pelican, or was it a flamingo?

  11. Katharine says

    Mother’s Day in the United States is Father’s Day in Romania.

    It’s hilarious.

  12. amodeo65 says

    Talk about tough love. I, too, felt teary watching that. I did take a look at her body language… not the body ripping pain I remember (3x), but I don’t think it was a piece of cake for her either. Maybe elephants are stoics.

  13. says

    hmph — I’m not impressed with the zookeepers/caretakers. Birthing on something other than a concrete slab would have been easier when the kid hit the pavement, as well as for taking first steps on the slick wet surface. Is grass so much to ask? I wouldn’t be surprised if the initial lack of breath was caused by the three foot drop onto concrete.

    I had trouble looking past that apparent neglect — otherwise, though, fantastic.

  14. Torin says

    If anyone is interested, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has an interesting elephant website that includes descriptions and diagrams of the elephant reproductive systems.

    Here’s some trivia:

    Males – “Unusual for mammals, the testicles of elephants are located within the body, close to the kidneys. The male’s reproductive tract is about 2 meters long. Male elephants, called bulls, begin producing sperm between 10 and 15 years of age, sometimes even earlier in zoos.”

    Females – “A cycling female, or cow, may vocalize and show greater interest and enthusiasm for bulls. Bulls will test the cow’s readiness to breed by performing a flemen behavior, which uses his trunk to bring urine samples to the veromonasal receptors in the roof of the mouth. These sensory receptors send chemical signals to the elephant’s brain telling him if the female is ready to breed.”

  15. Hank Fox says

    Gross process, beautiful result.

    I wasn’t too happy with the bare concrete either. I’m hoping the birth sac and fluid provided some cushioning for the baby on that long drop.

  16. jamesclaims says

    I’m sure that some mothers would really enjoy this footage. If your mother is more of a Jane Goodall type, I’m sure she would go positively ape over this!

    (sorry for the horrible pun…)

  17. Mattir says

    My son’s busily trying to convince me that my Mother’s Day present is to go see Ironman 2. Frankly I’m a bit puzzled that PZ, whom I have never met, gave me a much better Mother’s Day gift in the form of this link. (Gotta have a talk with that boy, and maybe deliver some kicks to the head a la mom elephant.)

  18. says

    I raised goats for many years, and the first thing I noticed was the bare concrete too. Not only is it hard, it’s cold, and new babies can lose warmth quickly (although an elephant may chill slower than a two=pound Nigerian Dwarf goat, especially in Bali!).

    I wonder if elephants usually have breech births? I’ll have to look that up.

  19. alysonmiers says

    I wonder if elephants usually have breech births? I’ll have to look that up.

    I think it would make sense, given that the newborn has to fall from a considerable height. Best to let the small one land on its backside rather than its head.

  20. Sili, The Unknown Virgin says

    I think more babies would improve from beginning life by being dropped two metres onto a concrete floor.

  21. hawkinsrn says

    Ditto on the concrete floor. I believe it is directly responsible (very likely) for almost ending this baby’s life, and possibly causing brain damage. You’ll notice that the maximum impact occurred on the back of the baby’s head. This is how you kill fish.
    The poor captive elephant most likely would not have chosen this spot for a birthing floor if given the choice. It would be interesting to see how this plays out in the wild. There would probably be other females in attendance for one thing . . . and I wonder what type of ground they would choose in the wild, and do they normally remain standing throughout the process?

  22. ex-Texan Barb says

    The concrete was very distressing. There’s the blow to the head (hoping for infant brain plasticity), and I also wondered about the slipperiness of the surface. Human infants are often rubbed with towels to stimulate them. Instead of grass and absorbent earth this infant is lying in a pool of slippery fluid/blood on a concrete floor. It’s amazing that the mother could stand steadily, and nearly incredible that the infant could stand and walk.

    Hearty applause to the mother elephant for a job well done, despite formidable obstacles. But I guess it is a relief not to have to worry about predators.

  23. gmarp84 says

    I loved this video. Probably the first time a mother kicking her kid made me tear up. Also, making me tear up was that horrible story about the 13 year old girl getting stoned (not the fun kind). I gotta stop reading this blog at work.

  24. says

    Amazing video PZ, thanks a lot for sharing with us all. Its really amazing how the mother does everything to keep its child alive.