Navigation Links
Taking the heat: Asian elephants simply 'ride out' high daytime heat load

The heat is on where elephants roam. Daytime temperatures in the natural environment of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) average between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius. Elephants do not sweat or pant to cool down and their small surface-to-volume ratio restricts heat loss. Experts have long suspected that elephants may have a heat storage mechanism similar to that used by camels and other desert mammals. Scientists at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have now shown convincingly that Asian elephants respond to high daytime temperatures by significantly lowering their body temperature during the cooler night hours. By doing so they create a kind of thermal reserve that allows them to store heat and so prevent heat stress as temperatures rise during the day. This finding is particularly interesting because it raises the possibility that heat storage is much more widespread among mammals than previously thought.

Heterothermy is an adaptive mechanism by which body temperature fluctuates in response to environmental temperature, decreasing at night when it is cooler and increasing gradually in the daytime. The FIWI researchers have investigated whether elephants make use of heterothermy. To do so, they fed small telemeters to a group of captive elephants in Thailand and a control group at the Munich Zoo Hellabrunn to monitor temperatures in the animals gastrointestinal tract. This telemetry system, which permits the continuous recording of temperature, had previously been developed at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology. Statistical analysis of the data confirmed the scientists' expectations: the overall mean body temperature was similar in both the Thai and the German study groups but fluctuations in body temperature were on average twice as large in the Thai animals as in the German individuals. The Thai animals had both a higher daily peak temperature and a lower minimum temperature, which the scientists related to the higher mean ambient temperatures in Thailand. In fact, the body temperature of the Thai elephants dropped at night to well below the normal average. This means that Thai elephants start the day with a much larger thermal reserve than their German counterparts.

Thomas Ruf, an expert in animal physiology and co-author of the study, is excited by the new results. "The phenomenon of heterothermy as a thermoregulatory mechanism was known from desert animals such as camels, antelopes and small desert rodents but it was surprising to find it in non-desert mammals. Our findings raise the intriguing possibility that heterothermy may be far more widespread in mammals than previously assumed". This will certainly be an interesting topic to investigate in the future and the temperature sensors developed in FIWI should provide the scientists with a good handle to tackle it.


Contact: Professor Thomas Ruf
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna

Related medicine news :

1. Celebrate National Childrens Dental Health Month by Taking Care of Tiny Teeth
2. People with prediabetes not taking adequate precautions to avoid diabetes
3. Binge drinking doesnt affect next-day student test-taking
4. Taking Care of Your 'Girls': A Fun and Open Forum for Young Women Hosted by Abington Memorial Hospital
5. Triple Heart Valve Replacement Saves Local Women's Life at Portneuf Medical Center: Woman Gets a Second Chance at Life After Taking Fen-Phen
6. Taking Flu Drugs While Pregnant Appears to Be Safe: Study
7. Harmony Information Systems to Host Free Webcast: Learn How Vermont and Pennsylvania Are Taking Control of Medicaid Waivers Management
8. A Womans Touch Encourages Financial Risk-Taking
9. Taking the final step from the bench to the hospital or clinic bedside
10. Robin Leedy & Associates Hires Digital Content Producer, Taking Social Media for Drugstore Brands Digital Capability to the Next Level
11. Genetic differences may influence joint pain among women taking lifesaving breast cancer drugs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... gatherings where preparing the perfect dish and pleasing the palates of attendees is ... or bringing a dish to a seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Vegas, NV (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... invites patients to learn more about hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser ... an effective solution for thicker and fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... According to an ... robot is being more and more widely heralded as a breakthrough for performing hernia ... method has over traditional laparoscopic surgery is that it can greatly reduce the pain ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... and athletic programs, launches new Wimbledon Athletics Facebook page to educate ... athletes for unsuspected cardiac abnormalities. About 2,000 people under the age of 25 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... SCOTTSDALE, AZ) - Today, Dr. ... both surgical and non-surgical treatments, announced the expansion of his private practice capabilities ... , Highly trained and nationally recognized for his natural approach, Dr. Todd ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 - Will Also ... (CME) --> - Will ... Education (CME) --> - Will ... Continuing Medical Education (CME) Elsevier , ... services, will feature latest diagnostic imaging textbooks and decision support tools, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 25, 2015 The hope of ... failure of IVF cycles. After failure of over 15 ... had lost all hopes that she would be able to conceive ever. But finally optimism ... conceived after failure of over 15 IVF cycles. ... they decided to take one last attempt with Gaudium IVF Center in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Array BioPharma Inc. (Nasdaq: ... Officer, Ron Squarer , will present at ... York.  The public is welcome to participate in ... BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual Healthcare ConferencePresenter:  , Ron ... 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time Webcast: , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: