Friday mystery object #124 answer

On Friday I gave you this very easy, but hopefully interesting object:

Unsurprisingly most of you managed to identify this as being the skull of a juvenile or more accurately neonate (new born) Elephant, or more specifically Asian Elephant Elephas maximus Linnaeus, 1758.

This specimen is fantastic for showing how a skull is made up of bony plates, which fuse as an animal grows. The flexibility of the skull during birth is important, when the precocious infant has to fit through the mother’s pelvic arch. Elephant neonates are precocious – meaning that they are well developed when they emerge – so they can stand and follow their mother within a few hours of being born. This means that they are big (maybe 100kg at birth) so there’s a lot of squeezing going on.

Despite their large size, baby Elephants have a lot of growing to do before they reach their adult size. They can drink 11-12 litres of milk a day and they often aren’t weaned until they’re 3 years old and they don’t reach maturity until they’re 12 or so. That’s plenty of time to learn with mother – which is how the skills needed to survive are passed on.

An Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) named Tamar and her 13-month-old baby, Gabi, at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, by SuperJew

Image by SuperJew

4 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #124 answer

  1. Hello,

    The image you’re using in this post was originally uploaded by me to Wikimedia Commons ( under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license.
    According to this license you are allowed to share and/or adapt the work, so long as you attribute the work to the original author (in this case me – SuperJew) and distribute under the same or similar license.

    I would very much appreciate you crediting me and would like to thank you for choosing to use my image (it is one of my favorite ones).

    You can see more of my favorite and best photos here:


    • Lovely image – I do link to the source from the image and from the first instance of my usage of the image you are credited in the ALT text on mouse over. The image was not captioned because the theme I used on my blog at the time of writing made captions hard to distinguish from body text, which was confusing for readers, but since I have changed theme I will add a caption as well.

      • I did not see the ALT text – my bad :O

        sorry for the misunderstanding, and thank you for adding the caption too.

        Also once again thanks for using my image.

        • Thanks for making your image available! Happy to add the caption – I think it only fair that people are acknowledged for their contribution and with my new theme I can do that more clearly than just using the ALT text, so I should probably get into the habit of doing so!

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