Within a 5-year period in the 1990’s, in a Game Reserve in South Africa young male elephants killed more that 60 rhinoceroses and in some cases tried to mount them. This was a highly unusual level of aggression for adolescent male elephants. What was revealed was these adolescent elephants, which were committing such acts of aggression had been orphaned. Their fathers were killed under government sanctions to keep elephant numbers under control.
Young adolescent elephants normally go through a troublesome and violent period. Male elephants (also called bull elephants) experience a phase called ‘musth’ which, in Persian, means ‘madness or intoxication’. (Does this sound like any teenage boy you know?) It is a period where the testosterone levels of bull elephants increase up to sixty times greater than other times. The ‘musth’ cycle usually last only a few days, but among the fatherless elephants it has somehow become curiously long. Their behaviour would become increasingly violent. The young male would walk around the jungle alone looking for trouble. They would kill rhinos piercing them with their tusks. They weren’t acting like elephants, as they didn’t know what an elephant was supposed to do with all his energy and muscle. Prior to their fathers being culled, young adolescent male elephants would often follow older, s+xually active males around, studying what they should do. But now, these youngsters had no such role models.
Getting back to the human race, at around fourteen years of age boys receive an 800% increase in testosterone levels in their body. This dynamic juice is the principal male sex hormone and is secreted in the testicles of males. Continue reading this article on the Hopefull Institute.