Cuneiform Sculpture Series Adaptation Narratives
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‘Infrasound’ (Elephant)

It is thought there were once around 350 Elephant species in the world but only the African and Asian elephants now exist. Being the largest of living terrestrial mammals, an Elephants obvious adaptations are their sheer size, making wannabe predators think twice. Then there’s their tusks and the multi-purpose trunk, but they also have other remarkable adaptive features, such as their ears and infra-sound and not least their renowned intelligence. Elephants flap their large ears to help them cool the blood in their capillaries, then distribute this cooler blood throughout their body to maintain an optimal temperature, one degree below that of humans, no mean feat in an hot habitat. Infra-sound is low frequency sound below the usual limit of human hearing (20hertz), an adaptation particularly but not exclusively used by Elephants for long distance communication. Infrasound travels through solid ground over many kilometres and is sensed by other herds through their feet. Whales, Hippopotamuses, Rhinoceros, Giraffes and Alligators, amongst others, all use infrasound albeit at different frequencies.

‘Acacia’ (Giraffe)

Giraffes, the tallest terrestrial animals (14-19 foot) are the largest ruminant, and they access African acacia leaves using their 18-20 inch long prehensile tongues. Their tongues, stronger than any other animals, are adapted to manoeuvre around the acacia’s long sharpe thorns to reach its foliage, also a Giraffes saliva is extra thick in case any of the nasty thorns are swallowed. The dark colouring of their tongue offers UV protection whilst reaching high into the acacia’s exposed canopies. Despite the acacia tree’s own range of adaptive defences (nasty big thorns and height (40-70 feet)), they remain a principle food for giraffes. Then, for additional protection, when being munched by Giraffes, acacia trees not only flood their leaves with distasteful chemicals and poisonous toxins, they release a gas which airborne drifts to warn their nearby acacia trees of predation, subsequently this triggers the next tree to release leaf toxins in anticipation. So, Giraffes habitually glide down the acacia tree-line browsing roughly one in every 10 trees to avoid a toxic lunch. 

‘Ceros’ (Rhinoceros)

The Rhinoceros (meaning ‘nose-horn’- shortened to rhino) is the second largest living terrestrial mammal, one of five surviving species of odd-toed ungulates in the Rhinocerotidae family. Due to their hefty size, heavily armoured skin (collagen), and weaponised horns (front 20-51inches/rear 20 inches - largest thought to be about 5 foot), the immediate impression given by a Rhino is of power and threat. However Rhinos - unless threatened - are usually peaceful herbivores with poor eyesight, compensated by excellent smell and radar like ears. So they can not only smell hyena’s sneaking up, they can hear them chuckling at some distance. Rhino’s have great off-road-capability with cushioned soles, enabling them to take all the grasslands throw at them, and for their tonnage, they are therefore surprisingly manoeuvrable and fast (30 miles mph). Rhino’s horn’s are not genuine horns as such, they are actually made of thickly matted hair, a fibrous protein called keratin, similar to human finger nails. A Rhinos horn grows throughout its life, approximately 1 – 3 inches per year, and if broken it will gradually grow back. Rhinos adaptations have helped them survive for around 30,000 years, since their woolly cousins existed, but sadly, man has more recently hunted them to near extinction due to the spurious qualities associated with their horns and for other nefarious motives.

‘Bristle’ (Warthog) 

 Despite having fierce and ugly features, bristling with facial warts, Mohican hair-style, tusks, and sporting sharp incisors, warthogs look characterful, if not humorous. Warthogs are really good survivalists, predominantly scavenging herbivores but are actually omnivores, and can extraordinarily survive for months with little water. Their well adapted knees are padded for comfort whilst they root with tusks and snout for dinner in their expansive savanna garden. Rarely bothered, but very able to burrow themselves, Warthogs usually hang-out in holes dug by Aardvarks or other animals to protect themselves from the sun and hide from predators. Warthogs reverse in to these burrows so that their tusks bristle outwards - now that’s one garden shed I wouldn’t hastily enter. 

 







 



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Adaptation Narratives

Cuneiform Sculpture Series Adaptation Narratives
(scroll down) 

‘Infrasound’ (Elephant)

It is thought there were once around 350 Elephant species in the world but only the African and Asian elephants now exist. Being the largest of living terrestrial mammals, an Elephants obvious adaptations are their sheer size, making wannabe predators think twice. Then there’s their tusks and the multi-purpose trunk, but they also have other remarkable adaptive features, such as their ears and infra-sound and not least their renowned intelligence. Elephants flap their large ears to help them cool the blood in their capillaries, then distribute this cooler blood throughout their body to maintain an optimal temperature, one degree below that of humans, no mean feat in an hot habitat. Infra-sound is low frequency sound below the usual limit of human hearing (20hertz), an adaptation particularly but not exclusively used by Elephants for long distance communication. Infrasound travels through solid ground over many kilometres and is sensed by other herds through their feet. Whales, Hippopotamuses, Rhinoceros, Giraffes and Alligators, amongst others, all use infrasound albeit at different frequencies.

‘Acacia’ (Giraffe)

Giraffes, the tallest terrestrial animals (14-19 foot) are the largest ruminant, and they access African acacia leaves using their 18-20 inch long prehensile tongues. Their tongues, stronger than any other animals, are adapted to manoeuvre around the acacia’s long sharpe thorns to reach its foliage, also a Giraffes saliva is extra thick in case any of the nasty thorns are swallowed. The dark colouring of their tongue offers UV protection whilst reaching high into the acacia’s exposed canopies. Despite the acacia tree’s own range of adaptive defences (nasty big thorns and height (40-70 feet)), they remain a principle food for giraffes. Then, for additional protection, when being munched by Giraffes, acacia trees not only flood their leaves with distasteful chemicals and poisonous toxins, they release a gas which airborne drifts to warn their nearby acacia trees of predation, subsequently this triggers the next tree to release leaf toxins in anticipation. So, Giraffes habitually glide down the acacia tree-line browsing roughly one in every 10 trees to avoid a toxic lunch. 

‘Ceros’ (Rhinoceros)

The Rhinoceros (meaning ‘nose-horn’- shortened to rhino) is the second largest living terrestrial mammal, one of five surviving species of odd-toed ungulates in the Rhinocerotidae family. Due to their hefty size, heavily armoured skin (collagen), and weaponised horns (front 20-51inches/rear 20 inches - largest thought to be about 5 foot), the immediate impression given by a Rhino is of power and threat. However Rhinos - unless threatened - are usually peaceful herbivores with poor eyesight, compensated by excellent smell and radar like ears. So they can not only smell hyena’s sneaking up, they can hear them chuckling at some distance. Rhino’s have great off-road-capability with cushioned soles, enabling them to take all the grasslands throw at them, and for their tonnage, they are therefore surprisingly manoeuvrable and fast (30 miles mph). Rhino’s horn’s are not genuine horns as such, they are actually made of thickly matted hair, a fibrous protein called keratin, similar to human finger nails. A Rhinos horn grows throughout its life, approximately 1 – 3 inches per year, and if broken it will gradually grow back. Rhinos adaptations have helped them survive for around 30,000 years, since their woolly cousins existed, but sadly, man has more recently hunted them to near extinction due to the spurious qualities associated with their horns and for other nefarious motives.

‘Bristle’ (Warthog) 

 Despite having fierce and ugly features, bristling with facial warts, Mohican hair-style, tusks, and sporting sharp incisors, warthogs look characterful, if not humorous. Warthogs are really good survivalists, predominantly scavenging herbivores but are actually omnivores, and can extraordinarily survive for months with little water. Their well adapted knees are padded for comfort whilst they root with tusks and snout for dinner in their expansive savanna garden. Rarely bothered, but very able to burrow themselves, Warthogs usually hang-out in holes dug by Aardvarks or other animals to protect themselves from the sun and hide from predators. Warthogs reverse in to these burrows so that their tusks bristle outwards - now that’s one garden shed I wouldn’t hastily enter. 

 







 



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