Skip to main content

The family structure of elephants - Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell


5,428 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

Biologist Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell has come to one big conclusion from her last twenty years studying elephants -- they're just like us. In this TEDYouth Talk, O'Connell-Rodwell details her work observing these incredible, social animals, examining several individual (and very familiar) characters that play, bond and argue in tight-knit extended families eerily similar to our own.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

When male elephants reach the age of twelve to fifteen, they leave their families and form close bonds with other male elephants. Why would it benefit the population to have males leave their natal families and live far away as an adult?What benefits would female elephants have from living with her family members for life?Mayhem is about to break out in Namibia's Etosha National Park. Join ecologist Caitlin O'Connell as she unlocks the secrets of this Namibian elephant society during their ferocious battle for alpha position in this Smithsonian documentary.Here is a link to my blog “ELEPHANT SKINNY” and two of my books for further information about elephants and our research into elephant society, as well as my TEDxStanford Talk and our nonprofit research site:A Baby Elephant in the WildThe Elephant Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series)The Secret Lives of ElephantsThe Elephants and Bees Project is an innovative study using an in-depth understanding of elephant behaviour to reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants using their instinctive avoidance of African honey bees. The project explores the use of novel Beehive Fences as a natural elephant deterrent creating a social and economic boost to poverty-stricken rural communities through the sustainable harvesting of “Elephant-Friendly Honey”.Elephants aren't the only large animals that often intersect with human civilization. In the Masai community where 13-year-old Richard Turere lives, cattle are all-important. But lion attacks were growing more frequent. In this short, inspiring talk, the young inventor shares the solar-powered solution he designed to safely scare the lions away.

Next Section »

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Speaker Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell

More from Awesome Nature