We may take the trunk of an elephant for granted, so accustomed are we to seeing these iconic animals with their long agile noses arching with a spray of water. But when you stop to consider this oddest of dangling appendages, one quickly remembers what a curious animal part it is. Imagine having, essentially, a supernaturally strong skin-covered slinky attached to your face … one that can caress, has fine motor skills, and is so sensitive it can feel distant thunder from vibrations in the ground.
Among the trunk’s many exceptional features, consider these wonders.
It is many body parts in one
The trunk is both an upper lip and a nose, with two nostrils running through the whole thing. At the trunk’s tip African elephant have two fingers while Asian elephants have one. The dexterity of the fingers allows an elephant the ability to do things like deftly pick up a single blade of grass or hold a paintbrush.
It has mighty muscles
An elephant’s trunk has eight major muscles on either side and 150,000 muscle bundles in all. It is so strong that it can push down trees and lift a whopping 700,000 pounds.
Its got the moves
Like the human tongue, the trunk is a muscular hydrostat – a boneless muscular structure that allows for its excellent maneuverability.
Its got reach
For more on elephants’ wonderful features, click here