Physiology – Elephants
Elephants are truly remarkable creatures. In order to adapt to their unique environment, these creatures have evolved and developed a number of physiological aspects within their anatomy that help them to survive. For example, an elephant’s ears can be used to help regulate body temperature, and the design of their feet aid in stealth and stability in slippery and rough terrain. The labeled diagram found on page four of this paper shows the anatomy, the structure and parts, such as organs, of a female elephant. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss elephant physiology, the functions of specific parts of an organism’s anatomy (Animal Corner, 2013; Simon, Reece, & Dickey, 2010).
The elephant’s large size requires large organs, which produce a lot of heat. Unfortunately, the skin area of an elephant is not large enough to expel the heat that is created by these larger organs. The ears of an elephant have very thin skin and hold an expansive network of veins and capillaries. Hot blood is released into the ears and is cooled by the flapping of the ears. The cooler blood then flows back into the main body of the elephant, cooling its overall internal temperature up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. On windy days, elephants can be seen holding their ears out, so that the wind can perform these cooling measures. This evolutionary adaptation comes in very handy in the hotter temperatures found in Africa and Asia where elephants are found (Animal Corner, 2013).
Ears are also used in long-range communication. For example, elephants can communicate on a frequency that is too low for the human ear to detect. The elephant ear is very sensitive and can pick up these sounds from a far distance. Also, the rubbing together of the ears with another elephant is a sign of affection (Animal Corner, 2013).
Another adaptation found in elephants is the shape and structure of their feet. As you can see in the diagram on page four, the structure of an...