Some of the exciting things about the natural world are the cases where the design is so advanced that any evolutionary explanation is difficult to believe. An excellent example of that is the design of an elephant’s trunk.
Recent ultrasound studies of elephant trunks have shown they are incredibly complex examples of design. The elephant is the only living land animal to have a long boneless appendage. A septum stretching the length of the trunk separates the trunk’s two nostrils. The elephant can expand each nostril’s volume up to 64%. The flow rate of water through the trunk averages about 3.7 liters per second, which would be the same as 24 shower heads operating all at once.
An elephant’s trunk is not just a drinking straw. When the elephant uses the trunk for something other than water, such as food, the nostrils don’t expand, but the elephant uses its lungs to suck up the food. The nostrils can bring air in at more than 150 meters per second, 30 times as fast as in a human’s sneeze.
Research is continuing on the muscular design of an elephant’s trunk. The intricate muscular structure and lack of joints give the elephant a highly complex trunk movement. Engineers have built robotic devices based on the design of an elephant’s trunk,
One researcher commented, “You never know where bio-inspiration will lead.” Designs from Velcro to airplane wings have come about by studying what God has created in living things. Everywhere we look, we see that a wonder-working hand has gone before.
— John N. Clayton © 2021
Reference: Science News July 3 & 17, 2021 page 11.