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Posted: Dec 23 2011, 06:54 AM
Member No.: 2
Joined: 30-August 11
Elephant's sixth 'toe' discovered
For elephants, the structure serves a simple purpose: it helps the hefty animals to stand up.
Unlike pandas and moles, which only have the false digit in their front feet, elephants have the bone in all four of their feet.
And although their feet may look like tree trunks, inside the anatomy is more complex.
Their five conventional toes point forwards, giving elephants a tip-toed stance, but the extra "toe" points backwards into the heel pad, adding extra support and helping the heaviest land animal to hold up its bulk.
"They need to move and have stimulation. They need to be browsing, foraging, socialising. They need to have reason for movement." Pat Derby, PAWS, on elephants' needs.