Gimme an ear...
Originally uploaded by Pandiyan.
This is the same elephant was that shown a few days earlier. Little closer this time.
Unlike african elephants, the female asian elephants do not have protruding tusks. The tusks are teeth which look like canines are actually upper incisors. Elephants use them for ripping barks, digging the ground and of course as weapons.
One of the most interesting thing about are their ears. African elephants have larger ears shaped like Africa! And asian elephants, also called Indian elephants, have much smaller ears have them in the shape of Indian subcontinent. The ears are used for identification as they are like fingerprints - unique.
Elephants use their ears to regulate their body tempreature. The earflaps are cartilaginous sheets filled with blood vessels covered by thin skin. Elephant experts can find out about the health of an elephant by looking at its ears, I believe.
An interesting scientific theory about elephants communication has come about in recent times. Elephants can hear infrasounds - sounds which humans are incapable of. This is an ability they are said to share with blue whales. It means elephants can communicate over huge distances. Scientists say under perfect conditions as much as 100 sq kilometers!
This hypothesis has lead to a great understanding of elephants' social behaviour and family structure. For information on this, read the book Silent Thunder by Katy Payne, a serious researcher.
Scientific name: Elephas maximus