Caption: The elephant diet consists of large volumes of plant materials such as leaves, fruit and roots. To eat these, elephants sweep loose items into a pile and crush them into a manageable solid that can be picked up by the trunk.
A new study demonstrates the physics that elephants use to feed themselves the massive quantities of leaves, fruit and roots needed to sustain their multi-ton bodies.
A human can pick up multiple objects at once by squeezing them together with both hands and arms. An African elephant also picks up many items at once but with only one appendage—its soft, heavy trunk. How the elephant solves this challenge could provide inspiration for future robotics.
A wild African elephant eats rapidly,...