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For millennia, people all over the world have revered, adored, and exploited elephants. In Thailand, a pregnant woman ducks under an elephant's belly in hopes of having an easy delivery; a tycoon builds an elephant-shaped skyscraper; and pirate loggers feed amphetamines to their elephants to make them haul back-breaking loads. In India, milling worshippers dance with gilded tuskers at ecstatic temple festivals. From the steppes of Siberia to America's prairies, scientists have proposed restoring lost ecosystems by reintroducing the elephants and mammoths that once ruled them. And generation after generation of readers have delighted in Babar, Horton, and Dumbo. In a kaleidoscopic account rich in historic lore, surprising science, and exotic adventure, Eric Scigliano traces an age-old, extraordinary relationship between species and shows how it still haunts and inspires us today. He explains how elephants may have been "nursemaids" to human evolution and how they have shaped history, art, religion, and popular culture as no other animals have. He joins a grueling chase after crop-raiding rogues in Sri Lanka and probes the bitter battles over the roles of elephants in zoos and circuses, revealing the enduring ecological importance and mythic fascination of these endangered giants.