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African Elephant

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The African Elephant was a large bull. The skin on the body is nearly an inch thick, thus the term Pachyderm (thick skin). It is mounted about two feet higher than in life, but this height is about correct for the extinct Imperial Mammoths.

If you compare the number of cusps in the teeth of the elephant with the teeth of browsing Mastodons with few paired, coarse cusps and grazing Mammoths with 15 to 25 narrow parallel enamel and dentin ridges in the Museum displays you will discover that the elephant’s teeth are intermediate in cusp number and size between the two extinct forms. Not surprisingly modern elephants eat both brush or shrubs and grass.

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One student asked if the inside of an elephant’s mouth is gray. Mr. Dailey responded that it was not and asked why the student had the question. The mouth in this specimen indeed was gray. The taxidermist had not finished the mount before sending it out of the shop. The student went to the Sacramento Zoo and had one of the keepers get the elephant to open her mouth. It was pink. The student went to the local craft store and bought a bottle of correct color acrylic paint and with the help of a tall ladder, climbed up to paint the mouth. First she had to remove numerous wadded up sheets of paper. Students had been using the elephant’s mouth to complete free-throw shots.

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