Silhouette of Ears: Your Daily Elephant

No two elephant ears are alike:

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

Photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Now who couldn’t love a face like Morula”s?

Your Daily Elephant: Molars

Both male and female African elephants grow tusks – the largest upper incisors on this planet. Their tusks grow every which way: up and curved, or down and straight, up and straight, or down and curved – the variations are endless. Some tusks are thin; others fat. Some are short and puny; others long and magnificent.

All elephants have only two types of teeth – tusks and molars. Four molars, two above and two below, are present throughout an elephant’s life.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

An elephant’s molars look like dishes set to dry edgewise on a rack, bonded together by enamel. Vertical ridges in each molar function like giant vegetable graters as the elephants move their jaws forward and back, rather than side-to-side like a cow. Molars grow up to a foot long, with a maximum of ten ridges, and weight eleven pounds apiece – perfect for grinding up trees.

They push forward throughout an elephant’s life, becoming part of a conveyer belt of teeth. Fragments of molars crumble off in pieces as they wear down near the front of the mouth and either fall out or are swallowed. Throughout an elephant’s lifetime, twenty-four molars in six sets will grow in their mouths, but just two tusks. Only ten percent of aging elephants grow a seventh set of molars.

 

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

Taking a rest.  Toenail reflecting the sun.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

Morula showing off her dental work.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

Keeping an eye on you whilst I’m gone on vacation.  Behave yourselves.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

 

Your Daily Elephant

Old camera, old photograph.  An evening drink.  Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

In the early morning light.  Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

Thembi twiddling a stick, about to grab it with the tip of her trunk.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Your Daily Elephant

Relaxed trunk, bristly hair.  See how the wrinkles fold into themselves – sorta like a slinky?

 

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

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