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Would all the Earth’s elephants stretch to the moon?

February 12th, 2018 | by Callum Costello
Would all the Earth’s elephants stretch to the moon?
Science
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When The Courier has to ask its big questions they send for its most seasoned contributor (well the oldest) and I never let my lack of mathematical or scientific knowledge (specialist and general) stand in the way of investigating a bloody good story. So when they asked me to bust the myth of whether all the elephants on the planet stretched limb to limb could reach the moon I said “give me the ball coach, put me in the game!” These are the articles you dream of.

First I ventured to wild western Uganda and parlayed with one of the 450,000-700,000 African Elephants. We spoke, we smoked and we discussed the minutia of such an endeavour. Sure the African Elephant isn’t as limber as some of its Eastern brothers, but it’s as long as it is true, and the leader of the pack Elon Tusk told me that if such a job were needed they would be more than up for the challenge.

Incidentally, this is just short of the length of the Tour de France

Some simple rudimentary sums on the iPhone calculator told me that the collective length of our floppy eared African friends would reach 3,900km (measured at six metres long for a population of 650,000 because I’m an optimist #banivorytrade). Incidentally, this is just short of the length of the Tour de France, which Lance Armstrong told me felt like cycling to the moon, but he’s a liar and a cheat so I decided to discount his opinion.

I took a cheap Ryanair flight from Entebbe to Wenzhou Longwan, and on the way I had a couple of complimentary whiskeys, the chicken option and I also bought a delightful bracelet for the wife from duty free. I checked into the Ritz where my old friend Earl Grey was waiting for me downstairs at the bar. He’s a little older, little more bush in the tail, but his ears are mighty and his eyes kind.

When I did the sums on my abacus I came up with a length of 247.5km…which I believe is the same length as the Stagecoach Number 1 bus route in Newcastle

He told me that there are only 35,000-40,000 Asian Elephants left in the world today (nice one China #sponsoranelephant), but that those elephants, whilst pushing 6.5metres in length, can actually stretch to a cool 6.6metres. This is on account of their well-documented and historical engagement with the art of yoga (real yoga, where they balance on rocks; none of that new age capitalist rubbish). So when I did the sums on my abacus I came up with a length of 247.5km (37,500 elephants at 6.6metres in length) – which I believe is the same length as the Stagecoach Number 1 bus route in Newcastle, am I right commuters?

Unfortunately that combined *length* of 4,147.5km is slightly short of the 384,400km required to make it from the Earth to the Moon, or at least that’s what my questionable, unreliable and often offensive maths tells me. Plus most of the elephants would die (#sad). Anyway, nice try liars – say it’s in Giraffes next time. It’s been good to get out the house, and thanks to The Courier for compensating my travel expenses with your tuition fees. Cheers folks!

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