Ah elephants, so big, so awesome, you can’t help being at least a tad bit interested in this wonderful creatures. I myself am quite interested in our pachyderm friends and would like to share some neat things I have learned during my elephant focused lunch meetings this week:
Okay, possibly the most awesome thing I’ve learned: THE FRONTAL SINUS (sinus space just above the brain) OF AN ELEPHANT IS TWO DAMN FEET DEEP, THAT’S ALMOST HALF THE SIZE OF ME!!!! Researchers believe that elephants use this gigantic sinus space to sense the low frequency sound waves created by other elephants (up to 25 miles away or more!) in addition to sensing the sound waves through their feet and ground . Consequently, this big sinus makes it quite difficult to harvest the brain for research during a necropsy without making a huge mess. My professor said they actually carve a small hole in the back of the skull (occipital condyles to be exact) and remove the brain in three different pieces starting with the cerebellum. He described it as “delivering triplets“ XD
Since we are talking about necropsies it may also be worth mentioning that chain saws make horrible flesh cutting tools according to my professor. He said that flesh will get caught in the blade in a matter of minutes and render it useless. He’s not quite sure how chainsaw murderers do it so “nicely“ :P
Anyway, a few more cool things:
-elephants have their lungs fixed to their ribs, so it is almost impossible to remove ribs without damaging their lungs- it also causes problems when the elephants lay on their sides and can’t expand their ribs and thus lungs to breath.
-One of the biggest killers for elephants is a Herpes virus that can be sexually transmitted just like in humans!
-Elephants are hindgut fermenters just like the horse!
-Tuberculosis is another common disease in elephants and can be easily transmitted to humans (we must be cautious especially during necropsies). Interestingly, elephants can be trained to suck up solution into their trunk, essentially gargle it in their mouth, then shoot it back out of their trunk into a bucket for TB testing. If this doesn’t work or the elephant won’t cooperate, a trans-tracheal wash is used.
-Elephants have one of the longest gestation periods: 24 months!
That’s about it for now, I hope you found a couple of these facts as interesting as I did!
sorry for the long post, i just get really excited when we speak elephant