After combing through the evidence, a team of scientists at Princeton University has teased out the answer: To keep them cool.
Unlike other animals whose hairy covering helps keep them warm in cold weather, the sparse hair of the elephant -- which tends to be found in hot climes -- helps carry heat away from the animal's skin and into the air, a study by Princeton University finds.
Elephants have the greatest need for heat loss of any modern terrestrial animal because of their high body-volume to skin-surface ratio, the report points out.
Many typical elephant behaviors help the giant creatures keep their cool -- from ear flapping to dust baths to water-spraying. They also lose heat through their skin and from blood flowing through their large ears....Read...