According to a new research, elephants are capable of inhaling their meals at 335 miles per hour, or 30 times faster than a human sneeze.
Elephants eat mostly light vegetation, such as roots, grasses, fruit, and bark, despite having big trunks and weighing about seven tons.
To figure out how they do it and what goes into it, researchers from Georgia Tech observed the pachyderm trunks from inside and outside to assess their suction capacity.
According to the researchers, an adult consumes 300 pounds of plant life in a single day and does so by expanding their nostrils by 60 percent and sucking up the food at around 335 mph.
The suction power is excellent at dealing with smaller meals because the elephant’s trunks are not particularly delicate organs when they weigh more than 220 pounds.
In this study conducted at Zoo Atlanta, US, the researchers assessed suction capacity while water siphoning activities and selecting up tortilla chips or vegetable cubes.
The researchers reported, ‘Elephants were filmed demonstrating that they can use suction to grab food, performing a behavior previously thought to be restricted to fish.
‘We discovered that elephants use this strategy for a variety of small stuff as well as single flat items like tortilla chips.
Over 14 separate tests, the scientists fed cubes of swedes to the elephants in various sizes and amounts. They discovered that the grabbing behavior varied depending on the size and number of food items provided.
The elephant used the prehensile tip of the trunk for fewer than ten small cubes, but it used a suction technique for more than ten items.
The researchers discovered a loud vacuuming sound accompanied the suction as food is quickly drawn onto the tip of the trunk at incredible speeds.
The elephant swept its trunk across the force platform in all cases to manually contact the food items.
The elephant did not rely on suction while eating bran fiber with tiny grains about 1mm across, the researchers believe, because it would avoid grains being trapped in its trunk.
The researchers tried to distract the elephant with a tortilla chip, a difficult flat thing to pick up without breaking for such a hefty trunk.
The researchers discovered that the elephant used suction to “pick it up without breaking it,” and then placed the tortilla chip in its mouth.
This implies that suction can assist elephants in grasping small things, allowing them to eat food that would otherwise be difficult to pick up.
‘Using liquid suction experiments, we measured the pressure that elephants generated and showed that elephants can expand the volume of their trunk by up to 64 percent to carry more water,’ they said.
Scientists previously believed that only pachyderms used this kind of suction feeding underwater, but now they know it can be utilized in any environment.
Suction has long been utilized in robotics to gain things. According to the researchers, the actions depicted here may serve as a source of further inspiration for the creation and operation of such devices.