Elephant in the room
National Museum of Natural History Washington DC
An African bull elephant greets visitors in the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History. African elephants are bigger than Asian elephants. Males stand 3.2�4.0 m (10�13 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 4,700�6,048 kg (10,000�13,330 lb), while females stand 2.2�2.6 m (7.2�8.5 ft) tall and weigh 2,160�3,232 kg (4,800�7,130 lb).Elephants have four molars; each weighs about 5 kg (11 lb) and measures about 30 cm (12 in) long. As the front pair wears down and drops out in pieces, the back pair shifts forward, and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age, the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.
Their tusks are teeth; the second set of incisors become the tusks. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off tre...