PAT & TOM LEESON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAT & TOM LEESON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Trunk tip of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The elephant's trunk is a unique organ that is incredibly versatile and sensitive. It contains tens of thousands of muscles, and numerous nerve endings. It is powerful enough to pick up large weights, while the finger-like lobe (only one on an Asian elephant's trunk) allows small objects to be picked up. The trunk is used to gather food and convey it to the mouth, and to suck up water and squirt it into the mouth. The trunk is also used to communicate by smell and touch with other elephants. It is also used to breathe and vocalize (make trumpeting noises). Anatomically, a trunk is an elephant's upper lip and elongated nose.
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