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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/497

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ABOUT ELEPHANTS.

the front toes. Certain important differences, to be presently noted, also exist between the teeth of these species.

The limits of size of the two species of elephants appear to have afforded subject-matter for considerable discussion. The average height of the male Indian elephant is from eight to ten feet, and that

PSM V21 D497 Heads of asian and african elephants.jpg
Fig. 1.—Heads of (1) African and (2) Indian Elephants.

of the females from seven to eight feet. The African species, according to the most generally recorded testimony, attains a larger size than its Indian neighbor. Sir Emerson Tennent, quoting a source of error in the measurement of elephants, gives the remarks of a writer who says:

"Elephants were measured formerly, and even now, by natives, as to their height, by throwing a rope over them, the ends brought to the ground on each side, and half the length taken as the true height. Hence the origin of elephants fifteen and sixteen feet high. A rod held at right angles to the measuring rod, and parallel to the ground, will rarely give more than ten feet, the majority being under nine."

As regards the number of elephants captured annually, a recent return gives us five hundred and three as captured in the three years ending 1880, in the forests of Assam, by the Indian Government.

There exist a few points in the special anatomy of the elephants of which it may be permissible to treat briefly, and, of these points, the skeleton presents several for examination. First in interest, perhaps, comes the enormous size of the skull, and the modifications wherewith this huge mass of bone is rendered relatively light and more easily supported on the spine. The skull of the elephant is unquestionably large, even when considered in relation to the huge body of which it forms such an important part; but, when the skull is seen in section, we discover that, instead of presenting us with a solid mass of bone, its walls are hollowed out in a remarkable fashion, so as to materially reduce its weight. It is evident that a demand exists in these animals for \a skull of great strength, which not only shall be