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Noted in Passing: Next they’ll demand salsa by the barrel and guacamole by the tree.

“The elephants name is Hoover and he’s from Eureka.” –ghostsniper

What Can’t Elephant Trunks Do? – The trunk of an African elephant is an evolutionary marvel. Clocking in at weights well over 200 pounds, it ripples with thousands of individual muscles that help the superlong schnoz lift barbells, uproot trees, and fling bothersome lions into the air.

A tortilla chip is an embarrassment of engineering. It weighs a fraction of an ounce and can measure less than a millimeter thick; it is so woefully fragile that the heft of a guinea pig or a generous scoop of guacamole could easily snap it in two.

And yet a union between chip and trunk is not as impossible as it might seem. Andrew Schulz, an engineer at Georgia Tech, and his colleagues have caught such an improbable pair on camera, reconciling the absurd imbalance between them, and described it in a paper published today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. When offered a tortilla chip, they found, an elephant will use its trunk to deftly suction the salty treat into its grip. The chip stays intact (at least until it’s deposited into the elephant’s mouth).

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  • ghostsniper June 9, 2021, 4:52 AM

    The elephants name is Hoover and he’s from Eureka.

  • John Venlet June 9, 2021, 5:35 AM

    What the video shows is not a chip, but rather a tortilla, still, the elephant’s trunk is a marvel.

  • Vanderleun June 9, 2021, 8:28 AM

    And right out of the gate, on FIRE, it is ghostsniper for the win.

  • jwm June 9, 2021, 10:57 AM

    Around here the convenience stores sell a corn chip that costs about five bucks. That’s “chip”. Singular. One chip. The five dollar corn chip is so unbearably hot that only the manliest of men can withstand the chili.
    …But playing a practical joke on an elephant is, no doubt, pretty high on the list of bad ideas.


  • Frank June 12, 2021, 2:24 PM

    No evidence that this is an “evolutionary marvel.” Elephants seem to have had these functions ever since they were created.