The structures of the canine, rabbit, bovine and equine EIF2AK2 genes were determined. Each of these genes has a 5' non-coding exon as well as 15 coding exons. All of the canine, bovine and equine EIF2AK2 introns have consensus donor and acceptor splice sites. In the equine EIF2AK2 gene, a unique single nucleotide polymorphism that encoded a Tyr329Cys substitution was detected. Regulatory elements predicted in the promoter region were conserved in ungulates, primates, rodents, Afrotheria (elephant) and Insectifora (shrew).
Recent molecular phylogenies of the African elephants suggest that there is an evolutionary structure within Loxodonta africana. Some nuclear results (Roca et al., 2001) support the separation of the forest African elephant subspecies L. a. cyclotis as a species distinct from the savannah elephant L. a. africana, on the basis of the recognition of both forming highly divergent (reciprocally monophyletic) clades.
Intelligence has evolved many times independently among vertebrates. Primates, elephants and cetaceans are assumed to be more intelligent than 'lower' mammals, the great apes and humans more than monkeys, and humans more than the great apes. Brain properties assumed to be relevant for intelligence are the (absolute or relative) size of the brain, cortex, prefrontal cortex and degree of encephalization.
African elephants are conventionally classified as a single species: Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach 1797). However, the discovery in 1900 of a smaller form of the African elephant, spread throughout the equatorial belt of this land, has given rise to a debate over the relevance of a second species of elephant in Africa. The twentieth century has not provided any definite answer to this question.
African forest elephants are difficult to observe in the dense vegetation, and previous studies have relied upon indirect methods to estimate population sizes. Using multilocus genotyping of noninvasively collected samples, we performed a genetic survey of the forest elephant population at Kakum National Park, Ghana. We estimated population size, sex ratio and genetic variability from our data, then combined this information with field observations to divide the population into age groups.