The Elephant Trunk

From Issue: Discovery 3/1/2005

Every single aspect of the creation shouts forth that God exists. Have you ever looked closely at the trunk of an elephant? It’s not just a long nose. It’s a flexible power shower hose, siphon, and snorkel, too.
An elephant uses its trunk as a human uses his hands, arms, and nose. It is used for breathing, smelling, touching, lifting, caressing, attacking, defending, drinking, and eating.

An elephant’s trunk is a boneless mass of flesh that has six major muscle groups, which are subdivided into over 100,000 muscle units. Wow! The entire human body has only 639 muscles! Since elephant trunks are over six feet long and weigh over 300 pounds, they can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk.

A finger-like prehensile (grasping) projection on the end of the trunk of the Asian elephant (two on African elephants) can grab and examine small objects. Though the elephant uses its trunk to drink, the water doesn’t go all the way up the trunk like a straw. Instead, the elephant sucks water (over six quarts!) part way up the trunk, curls it toward the mouth, tilts its head up, and squirts the water into it. Elephants spray water and dirt on their back to keep cool and clean, as well as to rid themselves of insects. They are excellent swimmers, often crossing waterways by walking on the bottom and using their trunks as a snorkel.

Depending on its size, an elephant can lift from 400 to 900 pounds with its trunk. The trunk is so strong and agile, it can push down trees or pick up a single piece of straw. While foraging, the trunk can pluck grasses
and leaves.

Elephants use their trunks to make noises, threaten and throw objects, and sometimes even fight. By beating the ground violently with the trunk, the elephant signals its anger or displeasure. When a young Asian elephant is stressed and nervous, it will go to an adult and place the tip of its trunk in the adult’s mouth. Elephants can even use their trunks to rub an itchy eye or scratch an ear. Also, some scientists claim that an elephant’s sense of smell may rank among the most acute of any mammal on Earth.

No evolution here! The elephant trunk is proof of creative design.


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