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The Indian Elephant

  • Jessica H. Lewis

Abstract

Since the extinction of the dinosaurs, elephants have been the largest land-dwelling animals. Proboscidea evolved as a separate order about 50 MYA, and its many species spread over most of the world. Today only two species survive: the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus) and the large-eared African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Adult elephants may weight up to 5000 kg (5 1/2 tons). Each has a proboscis, or trunk, used for breathing, for drinking by sucking up water and squirting it into the mouth, as a “hand” for tearing off food and conveying it to the mouth, and for carrying heavy loads. They have four enormous, pillarlike legs and feet with plantar surfaces that are thick, flexible, fatty pads that spread the weight evenly over a large area so that they leave only shallow footprints. Two upper incisors grow continuously and form the valuable ivory tusks. Elephants in captivity live 50–65 years. In the wild, their life expectancy is less due to disease and to slaughter by poachers collecting ivory. Elephants are herbivores, eating leaves, grasses, tree bark, and other vegetable matter in huge, often destructive quantities. Female elephants produce one offspring every 3 years. Gestation is about 20 months, followed by an almost equal period of nursing and nurturing during which the mother is not fertile.

Keywords

Factor Xiii Tree Bark Fibrinolytic Enzyme African Elephant Vegetable Matter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Reference

  1. Lewis. J. H., 1974, Comparative hematology: Studies on elephants, Elephas maximus, Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 49: 175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Suggested Readings

  1. Kleihauer, E., Buss, I. O., Luck, C. P., and Wright, P. G., 1965, Hemoglobins of adult and foetal African elephants, Nature (London) 207: 424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Nirmalan, G., Nair, S. G., and Simon, K. J., 1967, Haematology of the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus), Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 45: 985.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Schmitt, J., 1964, Hematological studies in elephants, Vet. Med. Rev. 2: 87.Google Scholar
  4. Simon, K. J., 1961, Haematological studies in elephants, Indian Vet. J. 38: 241.Google Scholar
  5. Young, E., 1967, Physiological values of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, Veterinarian 4: 169.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica H. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Central Blood BankPittsburghUSA

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