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 Post subject: The BIG trunk question (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Where ever you go on safari, the question on how many muscles and muscle groups are in an elephants trunk compared to the human body?......rises up from the back of the vehicle.......so I am throughing the question out here as well

What is the weight of an elephants trunk ?

:hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Around 140kg ?


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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Of all the extraordinary features that the elephant displays perhaps the most unique and astonishing is the most incredible feat of evolutionary engineering – the elephants’ trunk. A nose, an arm, a hand, a voice, a straw, a hose and much more - the elephants trunk is surely the most versatile and useful appendage on the planet!

Elephants trunks are the most versatile and remarkable limb on the planet
An extended trunk

What is the trunk and how does it work?

The trunk is the fusion of an elephant's upper lip and nose and was formed over millions of years of evolution. In simple terms the trunk is a long, prehensile tube with two nostrils running down the centre. The trunk is a mass of flesh, muscle, fat, nerves blood and connective tissue that can weigh up to 140kgs. (Wow, still 20 kgs lighter than me!) :mrgreen:

The key to the trunks success is an extraordinary network of muscles. The muscles can be divided into external and internal. There are four big external muscles, one that covers the top and side of the trunk, another along running along the bottom and a pair that sit on either side of the trunk's base. These control the trunks big movements - up, down and side to side. The internal muscles is a highly complex network of muscle bundle known as fascicles. An entire trunk can contain up to 150,000 fascicles as evidenced by Hezy Shoshani and his team at The Elephant Research Foundation who dissected and painstakingly counted 148,198 of the tiny fascicles on an Asian elephant's trunk. The fasciles are arranged along the entire length of the trunk like spokes on a bicycle wheel. By working together with the external muscles they give the trunk the extraordinary flexibility we witness when watching elephants.


Hi RG,

I found this info on http://www.eleaid.com/index.php?page=elephanttrunks Whilst doing research, I saw a photo of an elephant playing on this link. This instantaneously brought back memories of when the family and I were watching a huge herd of elephants at the Sweni dam... quenching their thirst and idling around. A male calf started playing with a roundish, relatively big rock that was lying nearby. He kicked it, chased after it, and then kicked it again. This action was repeated a couple of times and it was clear that he was enjoying himself tremendously. Then, of course, the other juveniles got wind of this, and soon three of them had a great soccer match. Truly also a wonderful KNP memory.


:yaya:

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Last edited by Elzet on Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:03 pm 
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Elzet

You are definately not wrong...

differing capacities from a strength perspective.
Baron Cuvier, a great French naturalist, estimated that the trunk contained 40,000 muscles!! Amazingly, the entire human body only has 639 muscles. However, it is important to know that the elephants trunk actually only has 6 major muscle groups (not commonly known), which are subdivided into over 100,000 muscle units. So, Curvier's original estimate, although off by a bit, was correct when taking into account the groups of different muscles. These muscles are divided into two distinct sets of pairs.

I have never read the same info on the trunk in any mammal bible they all have different facts on this subject.
It is always amazing to see a group of ellies in action. I think it must be the most interesting animal to watch. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Foxy you are very close

150 kg. But not one mammal book has the same info. A french naturalist baron cuvier did a study on the trunk of the elephant. And even his statistics are out by few.

have a good one :D

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:26 pm 
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Hi RG

I validated the info as set out above with info I obtained from quite a few other links.

I suppose it depends on the year (i.e. progress regarding technology) when the tests were done / book was written.

Which reminds me of another funny incident. Hubby once had a share in a safari lodge situated close to the KNP. One day, whilst going on a game drive in the KNP with one of the lodge's rangers, the ranger told us that once he took foreign visitors on a drive, whilst employed by another lodge, and came across a group of ground hornbills. The name of this species evaded him... for the life of him, he was unable to recall their species name - and out of desperation told the group that it was 'wild turkeys'. Till today we joke about it, although I think it is a no-no to lie. Rather say that you'll get back to them on this-and-that, and then do so.

But hey, we went on a night drive last year in the KNP, came across a porcupine, and the ranger informed all that once they loose their quills, they are not replaced (when in fact, they are replaced rapidly), i.e. there might be bald porcupines walking around in the KNP. :mrgreen:

:yaya:

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:32 am 
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Elzet wrote:
The trunk is a mass of flesh, muscle, fat, nerves blood and connective tissue that can weigh up to 140kgs. (Wow, still 20 kgs lighter than me!) :mrgreen:
:yaya:


Thanks Ranger Grant for this great and interesting thread, it's amazing what an elephant can do with it's trunk!

Elzet, you sound like a strong woman! :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Elzet

You are so right never try and fool your guests...you never know who is on your vehicle...lying has never made anybody a more clever person :naughty:

Here is another ellie question :
Can ellies perspirate ( sweat ) and what is the amount of blood flowing through the veins and arteries in the ears at any given second ?

:hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:56 pm 
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no to the first question and as to the second is the day hot or cold - on cold day the vessels contract and less blood flows through and on hot expand to allow for better cooling of the blood

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:04 pm 
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Hi RG

As an elephant's skin does not have perspiratory glands, an elephant has to cool himself in another way.

They have huge ears working like coolers. Behind the ears, under the fine skin, runs thousands of very fine veins. When elephants flutter their ears, the draught cools the capillary vessel blood and thus the body. This has the same effect as when a dog hackles or when we, in great heat, hold our wrists in cold water. Fluttering with the ears is very efficient for elephants.

If the elephant would have perspiratory glands, his skin would mostely be bathed in perspiration as an elephant weighing approximately 2 000 kgs has a skin surface of ± 112 000 cubic cm. A rat weighing 300 g has a body surface of 300 cubic cm. This entails that in comparison with his weight, an elephant only has 1/18 of a rat's body surface. Smaller creatures can therefore give away their body heat better than elephants and perspire much less. http://www.upali.ch

Did you know?

* The African elephant has ears that average at least three time the size of the Asian elephant
* Ears are used as signaling organs in the African elephant
* Ears are used to regulate body temperature
* Ears are used as a protective feature in the African elephant to ward off potential threats.
* Each elephant's ear is unique and is used as a a type of fingerprint for identification

elephant.elehost.com


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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:05 pm 
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One of the most fascinating features of the elephant ear is its infrasound capabilities for long range communication. To the average observer of elephants it may seem as though the elephant is incapable of listening and communicating with elephant in the distance. However studies have proven that elephants can communicate over great distances, many times being warned about an impending danger in the far distance .

Don't forget, an elephants ear's are very soft and sensitive.

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:12 pm 
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Did you know that?

· Elephants stomp when they walk.

· Elephants sleep standing up.

· Sometimes baby elephants lie down to sleep.

· Elephants bathe. Sometimes they spray dirt on themselves or bathe in mud to get the parasites off.

· They cool off by fanning their ears. This cools the blood in their ears. That blood goes to the rest of their body and cools off the elephant.

· They poop 80 pounds in one day.

· Elephants weigh about 10,000 pounds. It would take 250 students to add up to 10,000 pounds.

· Only grown up ladies and their babies live in the herds.

· The bull elephants leave the herd when they are 12 years old.

· They fight with their tusks.

· They eat grass and bark.

· During the wet season they eat things low to the ground.

· During the dry season they use their trunk to gather food from trees and bushes.

· They suck up water into their trunks and shoot it into their mouths.

· Elephants need lots of room to roam and eat.

· They can run 24mph for short distances.

· Elephants perform greeting ceremonies when a member of the group returns after a long time away. The welcoming animals spin around, flap their ears, and trumpet.

· The blue whale weighs as much as thirty elephants, and is as long as three greyhound buses.

· What do bats' wings, elephants' ears, flamingos' legs, rabbit's ears, goats' horns and human skin all have in common? They radiate heat to provide cooling.

· Female elephants produce one calf every five years.

· Genuine ivory does not only come from elephants. It can come from the tusk of a boar or walrus.

· Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and humans all have seven neck vertebras.

· African elephants have larger bodies, bigger ears, less bumpy foreheads, and longer tusks than Asian elephants.

· African elephants only have four teeth to chew their food with. However, each tooth is 12 inches long, and their tusks are elongated teeth that grow throughout their lives, like fingernails.

· At birth an Asian elephant weighs around 440 pounds (200 kilograms) and an African elephant weighs 581 pounds (264 kilograms). By adulthood both types of elephants will weigh close to 4 tons.

· Elephant tusks grow throughout an elephant's life and can weigh more than 200 pounds. Among Asian elephants, only the males have tusks. Both sexes of African elephants have tusks.

· Elephants and short tailed shrews get by on only two hours of sleep a day.

· Elephants are covered with hair. Although it is not apparent from a distance, at close range, one can discern a thin coat of light hairs covering practically every part of an elephant's body.

· Elephants communicate in sound waves below the frequency that humans can hear.

· Elephants have been known to remain standing after they die.

· Heart and liver: The elephant heart weights about 22kg and circulates about 450 liters of blood. Inner "cleaning" is performed by a 77kg liver.

· Water and trunk: To drink its 11 litres of water at a time, the elephant uses its trunk which weighs about 113kgs.

· Tongue: Helping the swallowing process is a 12kg elephant tongue.

· Food and intestines: The approximately 250kg food eaten every day passes through 18m of intestines. Eventually processed into about 100kg of elephant dung per day.

· Digestion: Elephants only digest about 40% of what they eat, and therefore, they need to spend two-thirds of every day eating.

· Gas: An elephant 'releases' 2000 litres of methane gas per day!

· Skin: Its skin weighs 450-750 kg.

· Tail: The tail weighs about 11 kgs.

· Fighting: The longest recorded fight between two elephants was recorded at 10 hours and 56 minutes.

· Gestation: An elephant's gestation (conception to birth) is 23 months.

· Call: It is estimated that an area of fifty square kilometers is filled with particular elephant "call" in infrasound. This might increase to about three hundred square kilometers at dusk due to lower temperatures.

· Eyes: An elephant’s eyes are very small in relation to its head. The eye contains very few photoreceptors and they cannot see very well further than a few hundred feet.

· Speed: A herd ambles at about 4 miles per hour and can charge at more than 25 miles per hour.

· No jumping: Elephants cannot run or jump. They can however walk very fast and climb.

· Swimming: They can swim considerable distances. In deep water they hold their trunks above the water like periscopes.

· Trunk: An elephant’s trunk is the most versatile of all mammalian creations being used as a nose, arm, hand and multipurpose tool. It is powerful enough to kill a lion with a single swipe, yet the finger-like lobes at the end are adept enough to pluck a feather from the ground.

· Trunk muscles: The trunk is boneless, and is composed of an estimated 40 000 muscles.

· Tusks: Elephant’s tusks are elongated upper incisor teeth, which grow continuously throughout the elephant’s life. They are not always an exact match, as this depends on which side they favor much like left and right-handed humans.

· Ears: An elephant’s ears are covered with lots of veins, which form distinct and unique patterns which can be used to identify individuals - much like human fingerprints. Elephant's ears are packed with blood vessels, and when flapped, they quickly lower the animal’s body temperature. This swiftly circulating blood is cooled by about 15 degrees Fahrenheit while in the elephant’s ear.

Source: www.natural-track.com/Animal facts/Elephant Facts.htm

Anything else that you would like to know, RG? :mrgreen:

:yaya:

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Oops, RG, I almost missed your second question.

An African elephant's impressive ears are not just used for hearing. They help regulate the animal's body temperature and may also be spread out wide in threat displays.

Elephant ears contain a large number of blood vessels which are covered by very thin skin. When the ears are flapped, air flows over the blood vessels and the animal loses heat from them. Measuring up to 2m high and over 1m wide, 12 litres of blood can flow through each ear every minute and the animal's body temperature can be reduced by three degrees. An elephant's average body temperature is 35.9 degrees Celsius, just below that of a human (37 degrees).

Source: www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/about/biology.php

:yaya:

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Well Elzet ,

I think you have answered that one more than good enough
Well done... :clap: , :clap: , :clap:
Thanx for the great info there are still so much to learn about these magnificent animals.
is it true that when they swim they can close the inner ear by closing a valve like structure to prevent the water from entering ?

again great info...Elzet you are IT!! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: The BIG trunk question ( RV)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:27 pm 
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Elephants indeed have valves that close the mouth and nostrils when under water. ...

Looking forward to your next question, RG.

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