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Fall Edition
Volume 100, Number 2

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Make no bones about new campus resident

The Oakes Museum adds African elephant skeleton to collection

Elephant skeleton in Jordan Atrium

At 10'4" and 1,400 pounds, the newest member of The Oakes Museum collection is hard to overlook. The skeleton of an adult male African elephant now stands outside of the entrance to The Oakes Museum—home to 40,000 specimens of African and North American mammals, bird eggs, fish, seashells, minerals, insects, and fossils. The donated skeleton hails from Zambia where, according to Ken Mark, director of the museum, the elephant lived for more than 50 years.

Preparing a large specimen for display is a lengthy process. The bones had already been cleaned by insects and natural decay, and then were degreased and bleached by Skulls Unlimited International in Oklahoma. The skeleton was assembled into seven large pieces that were carefully packed and transported to Messiah, where Mark oversaw the rest of the skeleton’s articulation. The skeleton, he says, “will provide a great teaching tool for the biology and sports medicine departments and for Messiah’s educational outreach to area school students.”

By Rebecca Buckham '05

The winning entry in the elephant naming contest was submitted by Nathaniel Jenkins '11 who suggested the name "Tukufu." Jenkins wrote, "The elephant is seen in many countries and religions as an incredibly important leadership figure. It is known as the king of the animals and has long been associated with kingship. Tukufu means majestic, grand, distinguished, and important in Swahili and I believe it is a word which captures the characteristics attributed to the elephant very effectively."

Click below to view the assembly video:

MC Video

[Please note that you will need Windows Media Player on your computer to play this streaming video file. It is also highly recommended that you have a broadband connection to the Internet (cable or DSL) to watch the video.]

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