The Physics
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Mass of an Elephant

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Herbert, Thomas J. Introduction to Mathematical Biology: Getting Started. University of Miami. "Suppose that the average Asian elephant has a mass of 5000 kg. Suppose the biomass of all living Asian Elephants is 2 million tons. How many moles of Asian Elephants are there in the world?" 5000 kg
"Elephant". Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2001 Microsoft Corporation, 1993-2000. "The African elephant can be distinguished by its larger size and broader ears that drape over its shoulders. Males, or bulls, may reach 4 m (13 ft) in height and weigh 7000 kg (15,400 lb). Females, or cows, are shorter, averaging 2.8 m (9 ft) in height, and weigh considerably less, about 3600 kg (7900 lb).Asian elephants are shorter and stockier than their African relatives, with ears that do not reach their shoulders. The average Asian bull stands 3 m (10 ft) tall and weighs 2300 kg (5100 lb), about half the weight of male African elephants. Cows reach an average height of 2.4 m (7.8 ft) and weigh an average of 3000 kg (6600 lb)." 7000 kg
(African males)
3600 kg
(African females)
2300 kg
(Asian males)
(Asian females)
Redmond, Ian. Eyewitness: Elephant []. New York: Dorling-Kindersley, 2000. "The scientific name of the Asian elephant Elephas Maximus, means " biggest elephant," but it is only the second largest species of land animal. A bull (male) Asian elephant might weigh up to 11,900 lb (5,400 kg) and stand 10.5 ft (3.2 m) high at the shoulder. Cows (females) are smaller,weighing up to 9,171 lb (4,160 kg) and standing 8.3 ft (2.5 m) high." 5400 kg
(Asian male)
4160 kg
(Asian female)
Urquhart, Mary. Playground Physics: Physics terms. University of Colorado, 2001. "In one kilogram of peanuts (in the shell) there are about 370 individual peanuts. A single adult elephant can have a mass of about 1000 kilograms. That means that it would take about 370,000 peanuts to equal the mass of one elephant. So the mass of a single peanut is MUCH less than the mass of an elephant. If you wanted to gather enough elephants so that their combined mass equaled the mass of the Earth, you would need about 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 elephants! So the mass of a single elephant is MUCH MUCH less than the mass of the Earth, and the pull of gravity from one elephant (or even all living elephants grouped together) is too tiny to feel." 1000 kg
Life of an Elephant. Nature. PBS. "An adult male savannah elephant -- the largest land mammal in the world -- weighs about 12,000 pounds and stands roughly 10 feet tall at the shoulder. The smaller forest elephant weighs 10,000 pounds at most." 5455 kg
(savannah male)
4545 kg
(forest elephant)

What animal has about the same mass as 3 cars? It is clearly known that elephants are the largest land animals and are among the longest-lived animals as well. Elephants have a life span of 60 years or more. Elephants are land animals that have a long muscular snout and two curved tusks. They are also very intellectual, strong and friendly, having no natural enemies except humans.

Due to the abundant mass and strength of elephants soldiers have used them as a weapon on the battlefield to trample over their enemies. Due to their size elephants have also been trained to carry heavy supplies through jungles and to haul huge logs from forests. Elephants have been long honored and respected in many countries and are still used for religious ceremonies. Over the past 40 million years more than 600 species of elephants have lived on this earth, however due to mass extinction only the African and Asian elephant still exist now. Elephants first evolved around 65 million years ago in Egypt and since then have lived on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, but today they can only be found in Africa and Asia. The scientific name for small forest elephants living in Africa is Loxodonto Africana Cyclotis, and the name of their savannah cousins living in East Africa is Loxodonta Africana Africana. The scientific name of the Asian elephant is Elephas Maximus which means "the biggest elephant", but it is only the second largest species of land animal.

African and Asian elephants have different characteristics such as size and color. An African elephant is known for their larger size and broader ears that drape over its shoulders. Male elephants also know as bulls may reach a height of 4 m and weigh about 7000 kg. However female elephants also known as cows are much shorter in height averaging about 2.8 m, and weigh much less than males at about 3600 kg. Asian elephants are shorter and stockier than African elephants. Their ears do not reach their shoulders and the average mass and height of an Asian male elephant is 3 m and 2300 kg, about half the weight of a male African elephant. Asian female elephants reach an average height of about 2.4 m and weigh an average of 3000 kg.

Even though elephants weigh so much they walk very quietly. Their toes help to balance their mass. The tusks of an African bull weigh 20 to 45 kg and are 1.8 to 2.4 m long. The tusks of an Asian bull weigh 30 kg and are 1.5 m long. Due to the fact that these tusks are so big they make an easy target for poachers who love to hunt elephants just for that reason. Elephants have been slaughtered in past centuries solely for their tusks, which are made of highly, prized ivory. An estimated 600,000 African elephants- about half the population were slaughtered for ivory. Elephants have a total of four teeth and a single tooth can weigh more than 5 kg. A typical elephant tail can weigh 10 kilograms. An adult elephant eats about 75 to 150 kg of food each day, which is about size of an ordinary human. A newborn elephant is about 1 m high and weighs about 120 kg. By the time the calf reaches the age of 10 they already weigh the same as an average car, about 900 to 1300 kg.

Eugene Shnayder -- 2003