Studies of Elephant Trunks

Studies of Elephant Trunks

So many designs in living things seem to be beyond any chance explanation that it is difficult to watch a nature program or read a scientific paper without seeing another example. For example, we have recently written about studies of elephant trunks HERE, HERE, and HERE. National Wildlife magazine for the first quarter of 2022 reported on another elephant trunk study.

This report centers on the elephant’s specialized respiratory system, which produces lung pressure that allows the elephant to use suction both on land and underwater. No other terrestrial species can even come close to doing what an elephant can do.

Every day an African elephant consumes 400 pounds of food and drinks several gallons of water. The engineers studying the elephants discovered that they can dilate their nostrils to reduce the thickness of the walls of their trunks, increasing the space inside the trunk by 60%. High-speed video and computer modeling show that the elephants can suction air at nearly 500 feet per second and inhale a gallon of water every 1.5 seconds.

As with previous studies of elephant trunks, this new data makes the elephant even more amazing. As scientists understand specialized equipment, it becomes more and more difficult to suggest that this specialization can be the product of chance. Many species of elephants have inhabited our planet, and their trunks all show specialization, even though the environments they live in vary enormously.

Every living thing on Earth has something to teach us. Therefore, we must take care of our planet and the animals we share it with so we will not lose this information. From studies of ants to studies of elephant trunks, an abundance of life demonstrates the wisdom and design of the Creator.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

References: National Wildlife magazine and Journal of the Royal Society Interface