المواضيع

The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) is a species of animal in the genus African elephant in the family Elephantidae. It is the larger of the two species of African elephants. Both of them and the African forest elephant are classified on the basis of one species, known as the African elephant, but recent evidence has shown that the forest elephant is classified as a different species. Some bodies still consider that the evidence currently available is insufficient to classify African elephants into two types.

African bush elephant

The cause of wrinkles in the skin of the African bush elephant

In a study published in 2018, a team of researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland may have finally solved the mystery of why African bush elephants wrinkle their skin. They concluded that the skin of these elephants is covered with a complex network of very small cracks that keep water and mud in, and this helps protect their skin from parasites and sunlight, and also plays an important role in regulating the elephant's body temperature and preventing dehydration.

African elephants lack the sweat glands and sebaceous secretions that allow other mammals to cool off, so the only way they can avoid overheating in their hot, dry habitat is by evaporating the water that collects on their skin when they bathe, spray themselves with water or wallow in mud.

According to Professor Michel Milinkovitch, the skin of elephants is carved in the form of a complex network of millions of small interconnected channels that prevent mud from falling off the skin and allow water to spread and stay for five to ten times longer than the normal surface, allowing the animal to efficiently control its body temperature through evaporative cooling.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, Milinkovitch and his colleagues show for the first time how these channels form by using a custom computer simulation that models the growth of elephant skin based on CT scans of real skin.

They found that the outer layer of the skin grows thicker and bends over time, which leads to its breaking as a result of mechanical pressure during the movement of the animal, and in this sense, these cracks are not folds or wrinkles in the traditional sense.

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