Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Running elephants, far-flying mosquitos, ancient crocodiles and more…

(Joseph Berger / Bugwood.org)


Elephant grazing
(© Hornbil Images / Alamy)
Name: The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).
Walks: With at least two, and sometimes three, feet on the ground at the same time, according to a new study of the animal’s gait at different speeds.
Runs: Not really, say the researchers, who tested elephants at a conservation center in Thailand by having the animals move at different speeds across a giant platform that measured forces. According to some definitions, a run requires having all feet off the ground at once.
Bounces: Much less than you’d think. Elephants accelerate by taking quicker and longer steps. Since they are always well grounded, they have a smoother stride.

Learn more about Asian elephants at the Encyclopedia of Life.

Researchers at a conservation center in Thailand tested many variables to study an elephants gait and how they accelerate when facing danger

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