Curiosities: How many teeth does an elephant have?

By Eddy Montilla.


What we see quickly and reality are frequently different things, and the teeth of an elephant are a good example to understand this idea. At a glance, it seems that an elephant only has two teeth, the two long curved tusks that stick out of its mouth. But an elephant has actually 6 teeth: Two tusks and four molars located in both their upper and lower jaws.

     Some elephants can reach a height of 4 meters and weigh 7,000 kilograms. Elephants are herbivorous and big, so they need to eat an enormous amount of vegetation (between 100 to 250 kilograms per day). This situation makes their teeth wear down. To solve this problem, elephants will lose their teeth and grow new ones, a process that will be repeated each certain period during their lifetime. When elephants can no longer grow any new teeth, they cannot eat and die from starvation after 60 or 70 years living in this world if they are not killed first by another animal, I mean, by some wild people who kill mercilessly the elephants, the largest living terrestrial animals, in order to sell their tusks.

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