Skeptics have maintained that our planet cannot support animals as big and requiring as much food and water as elephants. Such comments are a product of ignorance and the desire to show that a wise Creator could not have designed life on Earth. However, the more we learn about them, the more we see that elephants show design and purpose.
Elephants eat 200 to 300 pounds of food and drink up to 40 gallons of water every day. They can spend 75% of their day eating, and that fact has fueled the skeptical view. What needs to be better understood is that almost 50% of the plant material they eat leaves their body undigested. This makes the elephant the gardener of the rainforest, providing seeds and water in places that would otherwise be barren.
An elephant’s trunk is an incredibly sophisticated piece of equipment with 40,000 muscles that can bend in nearly any direction. An adult elephant’s trunk can pick up a 700-pound weight, but it is sensitive enough to pick up a flower. Elephants can suck up and expel water but do not drink through their trunk – it is not a straw. An elephant’s sense of smell is twice as keen as a dog’s and can detect the scent of food or water 10 miles away.
Elephants use infrasonic sounds to communicate with one another. These are frequencies lower than 20 cycles per second, the lower limit of human hearing. Using low frequencies allows the sounds to be transmitted over very long distances. Studies have shown that elephants can communicate with one another over a span of six miles. Elephant hearing does not just involve its ears. They also hear through nerves in their feet, and their hearing is sensitive enough to distinguish between human voices.
Elephants have the largest brain of any land animal, and the memory section is larger and denser than that of humans. The adage of having a memory like an elephant recognizes this ability, which has shown to be useful in situations such as remembering where water holes were 12 years ago. The design of elephants is so complex that attributing it to blind chance does not seem to be the best explanation. Seeing that elephants show design and purpose, we recognize that life is the product of an intelligent Creator.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Reference: National Geographic animation “Discover the secret superpowers of elephants..”