An elephant’s trunk is made up of its nose and upper lip. The trunk contains over 150,000 micro-muscles, which makes it extremely sensitive and dextrous. It performs many functions, including breathing, smelling, feeding, drinking, trumpeting, showering and even snorkelling.
Elephants are the largest living land animals, weighing six tonnes or more - that's as much as a school bus! They belong to the order Proboscidea, a group that includes extinct animals such as mammoths and mastodons, as well as three living species - two in Africa and one in Asia.
The large skeleton on display is of an elephant called Jumbo. He was an Asian Elephant and a present from King Chulalongkorn of Siam, now known as Thailand.
In 1883, Jumbo arrived at Sydney's first zoo where he worked and gave rides to children. Jumbo died in 1896 at the age of 21 and found a new home at the Australian Museum, where he remains an important part of our collection.
Sadly, Asian Elephants are now listed as 'endangered', with less than 42 thousand left in the wild. The extinction risk of a species is assessed and rated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and used to prioritise conservation action. It's estimated that a fifth of all species could be extinct within the next 30 years. Human impacts such as climate change, habitat destruction, pollution and hunting are the main causes of animal extinction.