Trunk dexterity explained: Scientists decipher facial motor control in elephants

Elephants have an amazing arsenal of face, ear and trunk movements. The trunk consists of far more muscles than the entire human body and can perform both powerful and very delicate movements. A team of scientists have now examined the facial motor nucleus of African and Asian elephants, the brain structure that controls the facial muscles of these animals. This nucleus contains more facial motor neurons than in any other terrestrial mammal, the scientists show. African elephants in particular have particularly prominent neuron clusters for the control of the trunk ‘fingers’.

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