That elk have two ivory teeth? The two well-defined upper canine teeth (also called buglers, bugle teeth, whistlers or tusks) of elk are rounded, extremely hard and ivory-like. I found this information in the book Elk by Erwin A Bauer on page 35. A lot of this book was researched and photographed in Yellowstone Park. I found it very interesting with beautiful pictures.
Technically, ivory is the term for any animal tusk used as material for art or manufacturing. Elk ivories are indeed tusks, of the same material and chemical composition as those sported by walruses, wild boars and elephants.
Elephants by Sally Morgan tells us how ivory has been collected from elephant tusks until the animals were nearly extinct. There are now laws to stop the import of ivory. She also gives other facts about the largest land mammals on earth. Ivory’s Ghosts by John Frederick Walker gives an in-depth history of the hunting/poaching of elephant tusks and discusses the controversial issue of the ivory ban, and what to do with the stockpiles of tusks from elephants that have died from natural causes.
Walruses have also been severely hunted for their ivory tusks. Peter Knudtson tells us that their tusks are primarily used for pulling themselves out of the water and onto the ice in the book The World of the Walrus.
Carved ivory can hold “special” properties, as in the Nancy Drew book The Mystery of the Ivory Charm by Carolyn Keene. Ivory is also used in the album title and the title of song #5 on the music CD Black Ivory Soul. It is a wonderful CD by Angélique Kidjo who is one of the world’s best-loved African singers.
And lastly, ivory also refers to color; there are so many different shades of white! Many brides choose ivory, champagne, diamond white, ecru, vanilla or candlelight for their wedding dresses instead of just plain white. Look at some beautiful choices in the book It’s All About The Dress by Randy Fenoli.