An Elephant Never Forgets

Danielle Hall, Alpha Theta, University of Louisville
Danielle Hall, Alpha Theta, University of Louisville

As I travel and visit different Sigma Kappa chapters, I notice that it is becoming more common for women to use the elephant as a symbol of our dedication to Alzheimer’s disease research. You may have heard the old saying, “an elephant never forgets.” I wanted to do some digging and figure out just how impressive an elephant’s memory really is!

Fun fact: An elephant’s brain weighs 10.5 pounds. Woah!

I learned that in the wild, an elephant’s memory is the key to its survival. Scientists have been able to confirm the long memory of elephants through observing their behavior. When an elephant is confronted by another unfamiliar one, the matriarchs of the herd will huddle in defense positions. This is because they are aware this is an elephant they have not met and it could pose a threat to the safety of the herd. Matriarchs are also able to remember where water sources can be found to guide the herd to the supply over long distances for many years.

I also found the cutest story about two elephant friends who met again later in life and remembered the friendly face! Jenny and Shirley are two captive elephants that performed with the same circus for a few months. After each going their separate way, they were reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee 22 years later. Jenny, who was first in the habitat, became very animated when Shirley arrived.

Our chapters are correct in their understanding of the elephant’s impressive memory. Below is an example of a t-shirt displaying one way that I have seen women use this symbol:

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So the next time someone says you have a memory like an elephant, take it as a compliment!

Until next time,

Danielle

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