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A close-up of an Asian elephant at the San Antonio Zoo I took last week. This zoo visit actually had me in tears a few times, and the elephants were one of them. Although they were paired at least, their environment was not suitable for an elephant to be happy. Such incredibly intelligent animals. One elephant was doing this rhythmic repetitive movement back and forth, and this one in the photo was pacing back and forth in it's cement-floor-and-wall-enclosure. Did you know that an elephant uses it's ears to regulate it's body temperature? The ears are filled with blood vessels. Moving the ears cool the blood off by convection, so the cooled blood, when returned to the heart, will cool the interior of the elephant. The blood then picks up heat from the heart, and brings it to the ears again to be cooled off. You can think of an elephant's ears as similar to the radiator of a car. This Asian elephant's ears are much smaller than that of the African variety, which can cool itself off more easily with it's larger ears.

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