Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Reconstructed CT scan of elephant foot

  • Sophie Regnault
  • Digital Images
  • Online

Available online

view Reconstructed CT scan of elephant foot


Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
You can use this work for any purpose, as long as it is not primarily intended for or directed to commercial advantage or monetary compensation. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) terms and conditions

Selected images from this work

About this work


This is a reconstructed CT scan of an elephant's foot, with the dense nails and bones shown in white, tendons and ligaments in orange, and other soft tissues in red. Elephants look flat-footed, but from the skeleton, it is clear that they actually walk on the tips of their toes. The foot contains a large fat pad, and a false 'sixth' toe (a modified sesamoid bone, right of the image) acts almost like a high heel to support weight. These images are useful for researchers investigating musculoskeletal disease in elephant feet, which seems to be related to weight-bearing and age. Disease may be very common, but is hard to diagnose with x-ray partly because of the thickness of the body - x-rays are scattered and distorted, as can be seen at the base of the foot which is dense and grainy here. The images also allow analysis of modified sesamoid (false thumbs and toes) anatomy to investigate the evolution of elephants and other animals. The width of the foot from toe to heel is around 42 centimeters.


Permanent link