I hope everyone had an enjoyable Yuletide! On Christmas Eve I gave you this somewhat unseasonable object to identify:
Not quite as easy as I was expecting in the end, but a couple of you spotted that this is indeed the tail of an Elephant – unfortunately I can’t tell which species because both have a very similar tail shape at the tip. Congratulations to CopilasDenis, Jamie Revell and Zigg for getting that right.
Elephant tails are quite distinctive in only being hairy along the margins near the tip, having thick wrinkly skin and being flattened – actually rather similar to the tail of a Rhino come to think of it. This tail shape is usually associated with deterring flies in warm environments.
I partly chose the Elephant because it ties in with a recent loan that I accompanied to the Royal Institution for use in the Christmas Lectures. The Lecture is called ‘Why Elephants can’t dance‘ and it will be aired at 8pm on Tuesday 28th December 2010 on BBC 4. For a sneak preview of the specimen see the image below, which was taken in the lovely surrounds of the Royal Institution:
More information on this specimen after the programme!