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BigDon
2010-May-12, 10:44 PM
A small herd of elephants die all at once and some people suspect poisoning and the parks dept people say lightening. If they were poisoned, the parks dept gets hosed in the media.

http://www.fancast.com/tv/Wild/97500/1303840578/Elephant-Murder-/videos?cmpid=FCST_hp_xfinitytv

If they still have the samples of the burned skin maybe they should contact those doctors in that hospital in Geneva, I believe it is, that specialize in helping victims of torture recover, (which has to be right up there with pediatric oncologist as "legitimate jobs that interfer with sleep").

If I recall correctly from reading on the subject long ago, electrical burns are chemically distinct from thermal burns, with electrical burns causing much more calcium ions to migrate to the burn site. (Again, if I recall correctly something I read back in the eighties.) On the other hand it might apply to human victims, but not necessarily elephants.

Anybody care to comment? (Like I could stop you. :) )

novaderrik
2010-May-12, 11:29 PM
i was gonna wait until page 37 (ha ha- made a funny about a different thread..) but what about CO2 coming out of an underground or underwater reservoir and killing all animal that were on the ground? it happened at that one lake in Africa, i think.
were there any other dead animals in the vicinity?

BioSci
2010-May-13, 12:13 AM
Seems like it would be rather difficult to "poison" a small group of such large animals and have them all drop dead in the same spot.

I vote for simple indirect lightning as the cause. It often does not cause significant burning.

see some stories:
http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/07/mammal_deaths_by_lightning.php
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2470567/posts

BigDon
2010-May-13, 02:00 AM
Yes, but elephants are some of those creatures that comfort their sick and injured. Don't mistake them for just big cows.

mugaliens
2010-May-13, 09:18 AM
If I recall correctly from reading on the subject long ago, electrical burns are chemically distinct from thermal burns, with electrical burns causing much more calcium ions to migrate to the burn site. (Again, if I recall correctly something I read back in the eighties.) On the other hand it might apply to human victims, but not necessarily elephants.

If you recall correctly? A little bit of light reading, BD? Lol..

Sad incident to be sure. I had a grade-school friend who was unlucky enough to happen across downed 35kV lines. Amazingly, he lived, and I saw him and his burns. There was no charring, as the link states.

However, lightening almost always causes first or second degree burns (http://www.harkphoto.com/light.html)(charring is a third-degree burn). Additional effects often include eye damage, contusions, fractures, ligament tears, etc., so if they're only looking at skin tissue, they're by no means digging deep enough in the elephant autopsy. In fact, if there's no such evidence of lightening, it probably wasn't lightening!

I was once nearly struck by lightening, as a kid in Florida. It struck about 15 feet away, and there was enough residual potential where I was standing to overwhelm my system and knock me flat. No loc or other lasting effects, though, thank God.

If this was a lightening death, it had to have been one heck of a strike. I'd look in the ground for fulgurites (http://www.minresco.com/fulgurites/fulgurites.htm).

Seriously - lightening leaves LOTs of telltale signs. The absense of lightening evidence is clear evidence it wasn't lightening.

BigDon
2010-May-14, 04:11 AM
Mugs, the video shows they did a detailed necropsy and sent a full suite of innards for chemical analysis and all came back negative for all common poisons. I saw stuff labelled "spleen" go by. Being solidified and microsliced for analysis. I detected no halfassery on the Parks Dept's. investigation. If you've pulled eight different organs plus a spleen out of a dead elephant to prove what happened, that shows a bit of good faith in my book. Because they may HAVE been poisoned.

mugaliens
2010-May-14, 07:36 AM
The question is were they merely looking for evidence of poisen (can be very difficult), or were they looking for easily identifiable evidence of electrocution. If they weren't looking for the latter, they're not going to find it.

HenrikOlsen
2010-May-17, 06:42 AM
Indirect lightning kills sounds quite plausible. The potential difference across the legs from a nearby ground hit can definitely be high enough to kill cows, elephants with legs even farther apart will experience an even larger potential difference.
The problem is whether such a kill would have any "easily identifiable evidence". It definitely takes less power to trigger cardiac arrest than it takes to cause burns and elephants with their fairly large contact area to ground would have a relatively low current density anyway.

BigDon
2010-May-18, 04:45 AM
The question is were they merely looking for evidence of poisen (can be very difficult), or were they looking for easily identifiable evidence of electrocution. If they weren't looking for the latter, they're not going to find it.

Mugs, I thought I mentioned they sent the parts off to an independant lab? The indies found no common poisons. That's why I mentioned i thought their search for a cause was in good faith.

Was I unclear?