How the Elephant Uses its Trunk to Eat

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A new study demonstrates the physics that elephants use to feed themselves the massive quantities of leaves, fruit and roots needed to sustain their multi-ton bodies. (Credit: Zoo Atlanta)

Image shows the indoor enclosure where experiments were conducted with the elephant. During experiments, the elephant turns to face the force plate and video cameras, and protrudes its trunk through the enclosure. (Credit: David Hu Laboratory)

The elephant diet consists of large volumes of plant materials such as leaves, fruit and roots. To eat these, elephants sweep loose items into a pile and crush them into a manageable solid that can be picked up by the trunk. (Credit: David Hu Laboratory)