Stock photo: African Elephant!

African Elephant!

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»  African Elephant!
The mammals of the genus "Loxodonta", often known collectively as African elephants, are currently found in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways. The most noticeable difference is the ears.

The large flapping ears of an elephant are very important for temperature regulation. Elephant ears are made of a very thin layer of skin stretched over cartilage and a rich network of blood vessels.

On hot days, elephants will flap their ears constantly, creating a slight breeze. This breeze cools the surface blood vessels, and then the cooler blood gets circulated to the rest of the animal's body. The hot blood entering the ears can be cooled as much as ten degrees Fahrenheit before returning to the body.

Differences in the ear sizes of African and Asian elephants can be explained, in part, by their geographical distribution. Africans originated and stayed near the equator, where it is warmer. Therefore, they have bigger ears. Asians live farther north, in slightly cooler climates, and thus have smaller ears.

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: 1/160 (0.006 secs)
» Aperture: f/4.5
» Focal length: 72 mm
» ISO speed: 100

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