Skin: An additional tool for the versatile elephant trunk

A new study suggests that an elephant’s muscles aren’t the only way it stretches its trunk — its folded skin also plays an important role. The combination of muscle and skin gives the animal the versatility to grab fragile vegetation and rip apart tree trunks. The research finds that an elephant’s skin doesn’t uniformly stretch. The top of the trunk is more flexible than the bottom, and the two sections begin to diverge when an elephant reaches more than 10%. When stretching for food or objects, the dorsal section of the trunk slides further forward.

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