BIG, REALLY, REALLY BIG ANIMALS
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An elephant’s heart constitutes about 0.5% of the animal’s total body weight, so if an elephant weighs 10,000 lb, then the elephant’s heart would be expected to weigh 50 lb – if an elephant weighs 4500 kg, then that elephant’s heart may weigh 27 kg.
The intestines of an elephant may be 19 meters in length, or more than 60 feet long.
At 5 inches, or 12.7 centimeters long, elephants have the longest eyelashes in the world.
The brain of an elephant is larger than that of any other land mammal, weighing between 8 and 12 pounds, whereas a human’s brain weighs 3 pounds on average. The growth and development of an elephant’s brain is similar to that of a human’s. Both are born with small brain masses. Similar to a human being, there is considerable growth and development in the brain as a young elephant grows up. As the mass of the brain increases so does the learning ability of young elephants. Brain size provides a rough measure of mental flexibility; large mammalian brains are associated with superior intelligence and complex social behavior.
The elephant’s body has a number of special features because it is so large and heavy. The skull, parts of which are six inches thick, contains many air spaces making the inside appear something like a honeycomb or sponge. This adaptation has allowed the skull to grow to a large size without enormous weight. The legs of an elephant are in an almost vertical position under the body, like the legs on a table. This design provides strong support for the massive body and huge weight that the legs have to carry. It also allows elephants to sleep standing up without the risk of their legs buckling.