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Definition of Trunk
(Scientific name: Proboscis)

From the elephant glossary Section: elephant anatomy

Cross-section of an elephant trunk.
Cross-section of an elephant trunk.

Random Literature
The elephant trunk does NOT have 150 000 muscles, or 120 000 or 40 000 or 20 000 muscles, the elephants trunk only have ONE muscle, named Musculus caninus!

There's a wide spread claim on Internet that elephants have 40 000 muscles in their trunk. I guess counting all those muscles must be a major challenge, if it was really done in a scientific manner, it must have been tough. In order not to count the same muscle several times, I guess at least one second per muscle makes sense, maybe even removing each counted muscle from the trunk, to avoid double counting.. Which means 60 muscles/minute...? 11.111111 Hours to count 40 000 muscles, that's about 458 days??? BUT if only counting elephant trunk muscles during 12 hours/day, we reach an impressive + 900 days work (over two years...?) of counting trunk muscles.? Who did this, what is the source of this absurd claim?
Dan Koehl

The trunk, or proboscis, is a fusion of the nose and upper lip, although in early fetal life, the upper lip and trunk are separated.

The trunk is elongated and specialized to become the elephant's most important and versatile appendage. It contains up to 150,000 separate muscle fascicles (a bundle of skeletal muscle fibers surrounded by perimysium, a type of connective tissue), with no bone and little fat. These paired muscles consist of two major types: superficial (surface) and internal. The former are divided into dorsals, ventrals, and laterals while the latter are divided into transverse and radiating muscles.

The muscles of the trunk connect to a bony opening in the skull. The nasal septum is composed of tiny muscle units that stretch horizontally between the nostrils. Cartilage divides the nostrils at the base.[42] As a muscular hydrostat, the trunk moves by precisely coordinated muscle contractions. The muscles work both with and against each other. A unique proboscis nerve – formed by the maxillary and facial nerves – runs along both sides of the trunk.

Internal relevant links on website www.elephant.se

Trunk mentioned in The Elephant Database

1 articles about countries in the elephant database match the word Trunk.

21 locations holdings in the elephant database match the word Trunk.

98 elephants in the elephant database match the word Trunk

Reference list Koehl, Dan, (2023). Trunk. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 20 September 2021 at https://www.elephant.se/index.php?id=40. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Cross-section of an elephant trunk.

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Categories glossary | anatomy |

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