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You've probably heard the saying "an elephant never forgets." It's a common expression used to imply that a person has a great memory. For me, the phrase took on new meaning when my grandmother passed away from cancer two months ago. Her favorite animal was the elephant because it is said to be lucky. She used to have a substantial collection of well over 100 elephant items--decorative figurines, wind chimes, tables, etc.

So tonight as I did some art therapy to relieve the pangs of grief that crept up from reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (a book about a woman who dies from cancer but her cancerous cells help scientists perform breakthrough medical research), I wondered if the saying is indeed true. Do elephants never forget? Scientists seem to think so. According to the Scientific American, research has demonstrated elephants' amazing memory capabilities. They never forget a face and can recognize a former acquaintance even after being apart for decades. They keep track of the members of their herd and can recognize up to 30 members of their group. Elephants are intelligent animals, one of the few species that can recognize their own reflections. Because elephants live for 50-60 years, their impressive memories are likely an adaptive function that allows them survive during adverse environmental conditions (like drought) and protect their herd against outside threats. Amazing, right?

I drew the above artwork, an elephant, in memory of a wonderful woman I will never forget, my dear grandmother.