Stock photo: African Elephant!

African Elephant!

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»  African Elephant!
The tusks of an elephant are its second upper incisors. Tusks grow continuously; an adult male's tusks will grow about seven inches a year. Tusks are used to dig for water, salt, and roots; to debark trees, to eat the bark; to dig into baobab trees to get at the pulp inside; and to move trees and branches when clearing a path. In addition, they are used for marking trees to establish territory and occasionally as weapons.

Like humans who are typically right- or left-handed, elephants are usually right- or left-tusked. The dominant tusk, called the master tusk, is generally shorter and more rounded at the tip from wear.

Both male and female African elephants have large tusks that can reach over 10 ft (3 m) in length and weigh over 200 lb (90 kg).

The tusk is mostly made of calcium phosphate in the form of apatite. As a piece of living tissue, it is relatively soft (compared with other minerals such as rock), and the tusk, also known as ivory, is strongly favoured by artisans for its carvability.

The desire for elephant ivory has been one of the major factors in the dramatic decline of the world's elephant population.

If you would like to know more, just click on the other photos in my "African Elephant" series.
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on Mar 28, 2007
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EXIF Data

» Camera: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi
» Exp. time: 1/250 (0.004 secs)
» Aperture: f/4
» Focal length: 55 mm
» ISO speed: 100

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