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The Evolution Of The African Elephants Trunk - Research Paper Example

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The writer of the paper "The Evolution Of The African Elephant’s Trunk" discusses and analyzes the morphological natures of the elephant trunk, several evolutionary hypotheses that explain these natures, and the feasibility of any predictions these theories make…
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The Evolution Of The African Elephants Trunk
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Download file to see previous pages The elephant trunk is an elongated nose used for respiratory, olfactory, trumpeting, containment, grasping, offensive, and communication purposes (Hughes 8). Evidence that may suggest these roles are the African elephant trunk’s physical structure and composition. The trunk of the African elephant comprises a nose and upper lip. At the tip, the trunk breaks into two “fingers” unlike its closely related species, the Asian elephant, which has only one “finger” (Neubauer 128). Even though the trunk partially comprises of the nose, the African elephant does not have a nasal bone or any bone for that matter. The trunk is made up of fat, blood vessels, numerous nerve endings, and 8 main muscles on each side, which break up into 150,000 fascicles (Ungar 97). The trunk of the African elephant can weigh as much as 400 pounds and reach lengths of 7 feet (Moss, Croze, and Lee 103).
Two nostrils exist at the tip of the trunk, which is evidence for breathing passages. African elephants use their trunks for containment purposes with highly porous and flexible muscles serving as evidence (Hughes 8). The trunk of the African elephant is so large and porous; it can hold up to 8 liters of water at a go. The African elephant draws water up its trunk, curls, puts it into the mouth and lets the water pour into the mouth by slanting the head backward (Richard and Bates 3). Grasping is evident in the African elephant through the clutching of items such as logs and forage using the two “fingers” (Neubauer 128). The trunk acts as a communication tool that the African elephant uses to ward off other elephants or cue its mood (Moss, Croze, and Lee 108). Lastly, the African elephant uses the trunk’s many tough muscles to attack other animals or elephants by punching or shoving (Cristoffer and Peres 1360). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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