Communication and Perception
Elephants use their tusks for a variety of purposes: to dig for water, remove bark from trees, maneuver fallen trees and branches, mark trees, rest their trunk on, fight with, and, in domestic animals, for various kinds of work. Elephants are left or right tusked, just as humans are left or right handed. Their trunks, which are formed by the combination of the elongated nose and upper lip, are also very useful. At the tip is a single, finger-like extension that is very sensitive and can be used for precise manipulation of objects. Trunks are used in eating, drinking, smelling and breathing, touching, vocalizing, washing, dusting (throwing dirt onto the back, possibly as a way of deterring insects), and fighting. The senses of touch and hearing are acute, but eyesight is somewhat poor. Young elephants follow their mothers or older sisters by holding on to their tails. When in danger, elephants run with their tails held up, which may signal the danger to the other members of the herd.
Communication Channels: tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; vibrations
Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic ; vibrations