Designing an Elephant Trunk

Designing an Elephant Trunk

We all know that elephants have useful trunks. As we learn more about what an elephant’s trunk can do, the more impressive it becomes. Designing an elephant trunk is not a project of chance.

The trunk is not just a snorkel. It is a highly complex device with 40,000 muscles and 150,000 separate muscle fascicles, bundles of muscle fibers. There is no bone or fat in the trunk. The Week magazine published a list of some of the characteristics of a captive elephant at Zoo Atlanta. They include:

1) Inhale water at speeds over 490 feet per second. (That’s 30 times faster than a human sneeze).

2) Issue a 110-decibel trumpet-like blast. (120 dB is considered the human limit without pain.)

3) Suck up food. (A skill thought to belong only to some fish.)

4) Rip up trees and lift 770 pounds. (350 kg)

5) Reach up to 23 feet. (7 m)

6) Hold 2.2 gallons in the trunk. (8.3 l)

7) Detect smells four times better than a bloodhound.

8) Lift a tortilla chip without breaking it.

The more complex a device is, the less likely it is to be the result of an accident or a series of accidents. The difference between the human nose and the elephant trunk is so striking that we should abandon attempts to relate the two. Lead researcher Andrew Schulz from Georgia Tech says that their research “pushes all of the extremes of what we understood animals to be able to do.”

The challenges of designing an elephant trunk strongly suggest that intelligence was involved. This is one more example of the credibility of the statement in Romans 1:20, “We can know there is a God through the things He has made.” 

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: The Week magazine for June 18, 2021. page 21