To accompany “Engineers surprised by the power of an elephant’s trunk”
1. What are at least three things that an elephant uses its trunk for?
1. In what way is an elephant’s trunk not like a simple straw, according to the story?
2. Among land animals, what makes the vacuuming (suction) action of an elephant unique?
3. What role does the septum play in an elephant’s trunk?
4. What did ultrasound measurements show about the capacity of an elephant’s trunk to hold or move water?
5. Based on those ultrasound data, how fast can the studied elephant move air through her trunk?
6. According to the story, in what way is an elephant’s trunk not like an octopus’s tentacles?
1. We don’t know why elephants evolved their long trunks. But considering how they function, why might they have been especially useful for pachyderms? (Hint: Consider whether and how an elephant might have accomplished those tasks without a trunk.)