Like many large herbivores, African and Asian elephants often seek out natural mineral licks, regions of soil where minerals are concentrated, with important conservation implications. Now data collected by Earthwatch teams that worked in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, provides strong ecological, physiological, and behavioral evidence for the function of this behavior.
You learn a lot analyzing dung. Sampling specimens from wild African elephants, UC San Diego researchers have found the continent is home to three distinct types of Proboscidia, not two. Apparently the distinction in the past was between savanna and forest elephants. Now it turns out a third, genetically distinct species has evolved that swings both ways.