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An african elephant offers itself a dust bath by blasting dirt from that trunk. Boy name Heigan via Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Elephant trunks are capable of astonishing feats of suction, follow to brand-new research. The study, released in the Journal the the Royal culture Interface, finds that these muscular, 200-pound nasal appendages have the right to suck up three liters (0.8 gallons) the water in a second, a mind-boggling flow-rate same to around 24 shower head heads, reports Katherine J. Wu for the Atlantic. Moving that much water so easily requires inhaling air at a breathtaking 330 miles every hour. That"s 30-times much faster than a human sneeze and faster than many high rate trains.

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An elephant trunk is valuable in just about any situation. This jointless noodle of pure muscle have the right to be offered as a snorkel in deep water, rip tree from the floor and, together the authors of this study uncovered out, daintily pluck a potato chip indigenous a table there is no breaking it.

“It’s like a muscular multitool,” Andrew Schulz, a mechanically engineer in ~ the Georgia academy of an innovation and lead writer of the study, speak Richard Sima of the New York Times.

To arrive at this marvelous brand-new factoids around the elephant trunk, researcher took high-speed video of a then 34-year-old african savannah elephant called Kelly at Zoo Atlanta and assessed her long nose’s suction capabilities, reports Karina shaman for New Scientist.

Another experiment, in which the team measured the inner volume of a similar-sized, 38-year-old afri elephant’s trunk, told researchers that Kelly’s outstanding inhalation actually gone beyond the volume of water that their measurements argued would fit within the appendage.

To inspection further, the team offered an ultrasound to see what was happening inside an elephant’s trunk when it was sucking increase water, reports Sid Perkins for Science News. This revealed the the nostrils within the stems were in reality dilating to increase its total volume by as much as 64 percent.

Another test making use of rutabagas prove elephants’ capability to decide exactly how to use their trunk relying on what they’re trying come accomplish. Once the researcher presented just a couple of pieces the rutabaga, the elephant adeptly picked them up making use of the trunk’s grasping tips, follow to Science News. However when the elephant encountered a bigger heap of food, the tribe switched gears and also sucked increase the morsels for shipment to the mouth.

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But remember, one elephant trunk is not a straw. “What they do is actually drink water into their trunk and they store it,” Schulz tells the Times. “So the elephant stems is actually favor a trunk.”

Per the Times, quantifying the trunk’s many impressive feats might offer incentive for improved robotics. Schulz tells the Times the this study demonstrates how successfully the trunk allows its bearer come "move both air and also water to aid manipulate various objects.”

According to the Atlantic, Schulz’s next move is to try to create a finish anatomical map that the internal structure the the elephant’s Swiss army appendage in really hopes of revealing much more of the instrument behind its plenty of uses.