Inside an elephant

Wow.

Inside Nature’s Giants, the Channel 4 TV show I blogged about yesterday, was amazing. It really was a natural science show that went places no other has: this wasn’t just about great photography and animations, this was get-in-up-to-your-elbows gross anatomy. They didn’t explain, they showed.

They showed why an elephant’s digestive system needs to be so incredibly massive (it’s a slow and somewhat inefficient fermentation and absorption chamber).

They showed how elephants – which can’t sweat – keep cool (by pumping blood through their ears).

They showed how elephants can run (big fleshy pads under their heels, like they’re wearing running shoes).

They showed how female elephants actually have tiny tusks (that don’t emerge from their bodies).

They showed how elephants are the only land mammals that have lungs that adhere to their ribs, possibly because they evolved from sea-going mammals who needed to keep their lungs inflated against water pressure.

I cannot wait to see future shows on the whale, giraffe, and crocodile.

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