Elephant ivory may exist in uncarved form, as whole or partial tusks, or may be carved. Common examples of carved elephant ivory products include jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, or cufflinks; household goods like napkin rings, ashtrays, and cutlery handles; or art pieces like carved figurines. Ivory has also historically been used in musical instruments such as piano keys or inlays, as the handles of weapons, or as personal goods like hair combs.
While much of the illegal ivory trade comes from African elephants, Asian elephants have also declined both in numbers and geographic range. Today, Asian elephants can only be found in 13 countries, and often in smaller, isolated populations. Poaching of Asian elephants for ivory remains a threat in some countries. Since only males sport tusks in Asian elephants, there are many wild Asian elephant populations without tusked males. Most tusked Asian elephant males have been poached for their ivory, and many tusked Asian elephant males are in private collections.
Fisher and his U-M Museum of Paleontology colleagues will use their knowledge of the structure and composition of mammoth tusks to analyze CT scans of the specimen. The other members of the U-M team are Adam N. Rountrey, Michael D. Cherney, Ethan A. Shirley, and Scott G. Beld. 041b061a72