Elephants Carry Their Babies For Two Years And More Astonishing Animal Pregnancies
From keeping backup embryos to being perpetually pregnant, many animals have incredible adaptations for ensuring their young will survive.
More than 5,400 mammal species roam the planet, running the gamut in size and appearancefrom tiny bumblebee bats and hundred-foot-long blue whales to spindly-fingered aye-ayes and scaly pangolins. That astonishing diversity is also on display in how mammal mothers undergo pregnancy and birth, from the domestic dog bearing pups from different fathers in one litter to the swamp wallaby carrying babies in two separate uteruses.
Intelligent, long-lived species often have lengthy pregnancies, which allows ample time for fetal development. The African elephant has the longest pregnancy, at a whopping 22 months.
The baby elephant is born very complete, and it can walk long distances, says Thomas Hildebrandt, a veterinarian at Germanys Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Similarly, the five species of rhinoceros are pregnant an average of 16 months, resulting in a fully developed calf. Some marine mammals, such as the bottlenose dolphin, carry their young for between 10 to 12 months, which means that calves can keep up with their mother from the get-go.
Here are more fascinating adaptations that mammals have evolved to carry their babiesand ensure their survival.
Legs Locomotion And Posture
To support the animal’s weight, an elephant’s limbs are positioned more vertically under the body than in most other mammals. The long bones of the limbs have cancellous bone in place of medullary cavities. This strengthens the bones while still allowing haematopoiesis. Both the front and hind limbs can support an elephant’s weight, although 60% is borne by the front. Since the limb bones are placed on top of each other and under the body, an elephant can stand still for long periods of time without using much energy. Elephants are incapable of rotating their front legs, as the ulna and radius are fixed in pronation the “palm” of the manus faces backward. The pronator quadratus and the pronator teres are either reduced or absent. The circular feet of an elephant have soft tissues or “cushion pads” beneath the manus or pes, which distribute the weight of the animal. They appear to have a sesamoid, an extra “toe” similar in placement to a giant panda‘s extra “thumb”, that also helps in weight distribution. As many as five toenails can be found on both the front and hind feet.
What Other Animals Have A Long Pregnancy
If you look at other mammals, then a giraffe, rhinoceros and walrus have a pregnancy of more than a year.
- Giraffe: A giraffes pregnancy lasts about 15 months, and scientists believe it takes time for them to grow long enough to survive a 6-foot drop at birth. Little giraffes are born tall enough to play basketball at 6.5 feet!
- Rhinos: Pregnancy in rhinos lasts 15-18 months. Its good for mom that baby rhinos are not born with horns! It takes several months for them to appear, and they continue to grow throughout their life.
- Walrus: Baby walruses dont need to take swimming lessons! They are born able to swim. The mother carries them 15-16 months before giving birth.
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Longest Animal Gestation Periods
Humans gestate for around nine months on average, and that already seems like long enough! However, thats actually on the shorter side when you consider the animal kingdom as a whole. Plenty of other creatures gestate their young for much longer, taking a surprisingly long time to develop.
So, just how long can the most extensive animal gestation periods get? Today well be looking at 10 of the longest gestation periods in nature and ranking them according to how many months long they are on average. Well also learn some of the fascinating details about each animal and learn a little bit about how they survive!
Peeking Inside The Womb
While much is known about reproduction and mating in the animal world, what happens inside the womb is more of a mystery.
Thats why more scientists are increasingly turning to advanced technology to see what happens as an animal develops in utero. Using 4D imaging on a pregnant captive African lion, for instance, Hildebrandt discovered a protective, hammock-like structure in which the cubs lie inside the lionesss womb.
When a lioness is hunting prey like a zebra, its likely to get kicked in the abdomen. These challenges would normally kill the baby, but it doesn’t because nature designed a way, a suspension system to reduce the impact of these challenges, he says.
For the new National Geographic documentary series, Growing up Animal, which streams August 18 on Disney+, sculptors handcrafted and painted lifelike 3D animal babies with detailed precision, even down to blood capillaries and hair follicles. For the first time ever, viewers can witness baby chimpanzees, Steller sea lions, African wild dogs, and others inside the womb.
Human Pregnancy 101
Everyone loves cute animal babies, but not everyone realizes how extraordinary these vulnerable newborns are, from both the adaptations they are born with and their remarkable capacity to learn how to survive, Dominic Weston, producer of the show, said by email.
There are many established and newly emerging technologies being deployed in the ongoing study of animal babies, inside the womb and out, Weston says.
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How Long Are Elephants Pregnant
Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world. There are two species of elephant: the African elephant and the Asian elephant . While the two species live in different places, they have many characteristics in common, including the duration of their pregnancies. But how long are elephants pregnant for? Read this guide to find out!
Labour Birth And Newborn Calves
All mammals have painful births, and elephants are no exception. They manage better than some, however they rarely die during childbirth. While a cow is labouring, the other elephants in her herd tend to gather around her and touch or caress her gently with their trunks.
Its almost unheard of for more than one calf to be born at a time, and this newborn calf can immediately stand up under his or her own power and walk a few faltering steps on its not so little feet. Even newborn, the calf will weigh something in the region of 260 lbs. They need to be this large for good reason, however elephants are tall animals, and babies need to be able to reach their mother to feed on milk.
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How Long Do Elephants Live For
An elephant’s lifespan is typically between 50 and 60 years, though they have been known to live as much as 70 years.
The oldest recorded Asian elephant was 86 at the time of its death. African elephants can reach the age of 70 or 80 before dying from natural causes one has even lived up to 100! In captivity, these animals may not fare so well because many zoos lack a suitably diverse environment for them which could lead to all sorts of health problems such as obesity and heart disease.
Other Animals With Long Pregnancies
Elephants have one of the longest gestation periods of all animals. Here are ten other animals with long gestation periods:
Black alpine salamanders: These amphibians live at high altitudes in the Central and Eastern Alps. Their pregnancies can last from two to three years.
Sharks: Different species of sharks have different gestation periods. The spiny dogfish shark has a gestation period of two years. The frilled shark has a gestation period of 3.5 years.
Tapirs: Closely related to horses and rhinos, tapir calves have a gestation period of up to thirteen months.
Donkeys: Female donkeys are known as Jennys or mares. Their pregnancies can last up to 14 months.
Manatees: These underwater mammals can carry their young for up to thirteen months.
Camels: Camels dont just carry water for a long time. Their typical gestation period is fourteen months.
Giraffes: The tallest land animal in the world has a gestation period between 13 and 15 months .
Velvet worm: This strange creature is neither made of velvet nor an actual worm: they are close relatives of spiders. Velvet worms carry their young for up to fifteen months.
Rhinos: Perhaps unsurprisingly due to their size, rhinos have a long gestation period: typically around 15 months.
Walruses: Walruses typically carry their young for as long as fifteen or sixteen months.
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How Long Are Elephants Pregnant For
How long an elephant is pregnant for depends a little on the species. African elephants are pregnant for up to 22 months, while Asian elephants are pregnant for 18-22 months. This is actually the longest gestation period of all mammals, which makes sense when we think about how big elephants are. A blue whale is only pregnant for 10-12 months, nearly half the length of an elephant pregnancy. Compare this to a hamster those little guys are only pregnant for 16 days at a time!
Elephant Pregnancy: Other Facts
Now that we know about an elephants gestation period, here are some other fun facts about elephant pregnancy.
Elephant calves typically weigh between 220 and 330 pounds at birth. No wonder they take so long to develop!
Elephants are born almost blind. It takes several weeks for their eyes to work properly.
Female elephants can give birth every four or five years.
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Rhino 15 To 16 Months
Known for the iconic horns, there are five different types of rhinos in the world white, black, Sumatran, Javan and great one horned rhino. These incredible large mammals carry their calf for 15 to 16 months. Among the five species, white rhinos have the longest gestation period can last for more than 16 months or more.
Female rhinos deliver only one calf at a time. At the birth itself, a rhino calf weighs between 40 and 65 kg The protective female rhinos would take care of their calves until the age of 3.
Retrospective Analysis Of The Ultrasound Data And Measurements
All ultrasound recordings were analysed retrospectively. For the measurement of different biometric parameters, such as CRL, biparietal diameter , thoracic diameter and femur length , three-dimensional sonograms had to be created from the two-dimensional recordings before foetal structures could be measured with a special software program .
The BPD of the foetal head was measured from the outer margin of one parietal bone to the other. The FL was defined as the maximal length of the diaphysis. The THD was the maximal diameter of the rib cage in the horizontal section.
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Elephants 18 22 Months
The largest of all land animals have the longest gestation period of all living mammals. Yes, the gestation period of elephants lasts for 18 to 22 months. Thats nearly two years. Among the two main species of elephants African and Asian, it changes by a few months. For an African elephant, the gestation period is 22 months where the Asian elephants is between 18 and 22 months.
The female elephant gives birth to only one calf at a time. Even a newborn elephant would weigh between 90 and 115 kg. The sexual maturity for elephants comes at the age of 8 to 13. But their physical growth only becomes complete at the age of 20. As a highly social creature, not just the mother elephant but the full members of the herd take care of a newborn elephant.
When Are Elephant Babies Born
When theres plenty of food about, elephants can be born throughout the year. However, in areas of Africa, for example, where there can be food shortages at certain times of year, elephants are typically born in the rainy season. A study on working elephants in Myanmar showed that 40 per cent of babies were born between December and March at the beginning of the dry season.
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New Mathematical Models For Foetal Growth Using Ultrasound Data
Since the dates of ovulation of SE119 were known, each ultrasound measurement could be assigned a known gestational age. The CRL was an accessible parameter from 62 to 202 days of gestation and ranged from 5.0 to 205.3mm. It became more difficult to measure with increasing growth of the foetus and its varying flexure. BPD could be measured transrectally from 83 to 226 days of gestation, and it ranged from 7.7 to 91.3mm. THD ranged from 10.5 to 88.0mm between days 99 and 240. FL was a parameter that could only be determined later in gestation. It ranged from 6.4 to 58.0mm and could be reliably measured from 119 to 234 days of gestation. Regression models were fitted to the data in order to construct mean curves for age and CRL, BPD, THD and FL . The data were examined to see if the foetal growth rates differed between Asian and African elephants. No significant differences in the slopes or the intercepts were observed between Asian and African elephants =0.091, p=0.947 age with BPD: p=0.405, p=0.751 age with THD: p=0.522, p=0.647 age with FL: p=0.890, p=0.979). Therefore, all subsequent calculations were performed using the combined data for both species. The regression analyses yielded the following equations:
The relationship between CRL and age is nonlinear, and it can be adequately fitted by a square root function
Thus, our formulae are accurate up to at least 202±9.7 days .
Which Animal Has The Longest Pregnancy
Asked by: Kerry Bradshaw, Market Weighton
The 22-month gestation period of the African elephant is the longest among the land mammals. But this is far surpassed by the eel-like frilled shark found off the coasts of South Africa and Chile, which Japanese scientists have shown to have a gestation period that may be as long as 42 months. This could be due to the intense cold of its deep-sea habitat slowing its metabolic processes to a crawl. Other deep-dwelling animals may have similarly extended gestation periods.
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