Elephants happen to have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom - captivating human beings with their IQ and family bonding. They also reside in tight social matriarchal units.

Although it might seem that there is an endless variety of elephant species, sadly, this is no longer true. History shows us that many, many years ago, there were some 350 species of elephants. Yet, these spectacular animals were also exploited for their amazing power and protection and used in war during B.C. times, when tanks had not yet been in existence.

Today, we have only two elephant species remaining, the Asian and African elephants and a few sub-species among both groups. According to ElephantWorld, the African elephants share a sub-species with the Forest elephant and the Savannah elephant (also known as Bush elephant).

Asian elephants share these sub-species: the Indian, Sri Lanka, Sumatran and Borneo (also called the Pygmy).

About 600,000 elephants remain, but a lot of conservation is needed to maintain this wonderful population. Elephants are often targets of poachers and continue to lose their natural environment through man-made progress and/or destruction.

Both young and old are captivated by these jumbo wrinkled creatures born with a trunk, mainly because they are incredible to look at and watch. Elephants are gentle giants blessed with curiosity, energy and a playful spirit. They are highly evolved animals able to exhibit joy, pain, anger and grief.

When we study these two species, we can learn many interesting facts about elephants and how special their role is here on earth. They are very social creatures, and that single fact alone, allows human beings to inspect an elephant's deep family bonds and how they survive together in the wild.

There are so many interesting characteristics of these huge mammals, such as their two-year gestation period or the amount of time they carry their yet unborn babies. A mama elephant's litter size is one calf, although twins can be born, but this is rare. It's hard to believe, but a baby calf comes into the world weighing about 250 pounds.

An adult elephant is not as tall as a giraffe but can typically develop into an animal with a height at the shoulder of 8.2 to 13 feet and a weight between 5,000 and 14,000 pounds. To imagine the size of this noble creature, consider the ear alone, from a bull African elephant. It weighs more than 100 pounds.

People enjoy watching elephants poking around with their trunks to grab potential meals. Elephants do plenty of eating and can put away between 300 and 500 pounds of food daily.

Like humans, healthy elephants live a nice, long life, most to around age 70 and some up to 80.

To see the love between a herd of elephants, watch YouTube.com and a newborn calf's first baby steps. It will melt your heart.