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Studies

The Secret to an Elephant’s Trunk Is Skin Deep

The Secret to an Elephant’s Trunk Is Skin Deep

By Richard Sima, The New York Times The elephant has a secret hiding right on its nose. Its famous trunk, full of muscle and devoid of bone, can move in a virtually infinite number of directions and is capable of performing an array of tasks, such as tearing up foliage and suctioning up water and tortilla chips. These abilities have inspired nature lovers as well as engineers working to build robots capable of similar feats of flexibility and force. But the trunk is more than mere muscle, and its abilities may also depend on something obvious but often ignored: the appendage’s skin. In a...

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New techniques for retrieving fingerprints from ivory to mitigate poaching

New techniques for retrieving fingerprints from ivory to mitigate poaching

By King's College London, Phys.org The use of new techniques for retrieving fingerprints from ivory has been validated for the first time by scientists from King's College London and University College London in collaboration with imaging and fingerprint experts from the Metropolitan Police. The findings could lead to wider use of fingerprinting methods in the field to more easily identify poachers in regions with high levels of ivory-related crime. Ivory has previously been considered difficult to obtain fingerprints from as it is a highly porous, ridged material. This means fingerprinting...

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First assessment of metabolites in African savanna elephants

First assessment of metabolites in African savanna elephants

By Phys.org North Carolina State University researchers have conducted the first assessment of metabolites in African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana), an important step in understanding the relationship between metabolism and health in these endangered animals. Metabolomics is the study of metabolites—the small molecules, such as amino acids, lipids and sugars, which are the dynamic building blocks of metabolism in animals. Understanding which metabolites are present, and in what amounts, can provide valuable insights into the relationship between an animal's diet and its health....

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Brain size determined the chances of survival among large animals

Brain size determined the chances of survival among large animals

By EurekAlert Researchers at Tel Aviv University, and the University of Naples, have examined the mass extinction of large animals over the past tens of thousands of years and found that extinct species had, on average, much smaller brains than species that survived. The researchers link the size of the brain (in relation to the body size of each species) to intelligence, concluding that a large brain, which indicates – in comparison to different species of animals – relatively high intelligence, helped the extant species adapt to changing conditions and cope with human activities such as...

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