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Three facts you didn’t know about elephant trunks

Written by: Flo Montgomery
I caught these images on camera recently while watching elephants with their babies enjoying a swim in the Ruaha’s Mdonya sand river – it is flowing now with the recent rains and the grass is lush and verdant all around – the elephants are in heaven!
family-of-elephants
I noticed some of the young elephants were twisting their trunks around each other in complex motions and was pondering about how amazing these extra appendages of theirs are.
baby-elephants-use-their-trunks
Did you know these three things about the elephant trunk?
1. The human tongue is similar to an elephant’s trunk. Both the tongue and the trunk are muscular hydrostats – body parts composed almost exclusively of muscle tissue that utilise water pressure to move, the muscles providing volume constancy and reversible torsional force.
Baby-elephant
2. The trunk of an elephant is highly dynamic, able to move in a variety of directions with immense strength and precision, though there is no skeletal structure in the trunk.
elephant-trunk
3. The elephant’s trunk is made up of an incompressible ‘fluid’ (i.e. tightly packed muscle fibers) that maintains its volume to remain constant through a variety of movements. These muscles are arranged in three patterns (perpendicular to the long axis of the organ, parallel to the long axis, or wrapped helically, or obliquely, a round the long axis) and provide versatility to the movement of the trunk.
baby-elephants
side-by-side
Maybe this is why the baby elephants are often seen experimenting to find out what they can do with this interesting appendage!
baby-elephants-playing

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