Elephants have developed various structural adaptations that aid their survival in their environment, including flapping their ears to achieve a cooling effect, distributing their body weight in a proper manner to exert pressure equally, developing large molars for eating vegetables and developing a unique structure known as a trunk to compensate for their short necks. Due to the fact that elephants reside in tropical environments and do not have sweat glands, staying cool can be difficult. As a result, elephants either rely on flapping their ears or rolling in mud to stay cool.
Most elephants walk on their toes and have extra cushioning of thick, fatty tissues on the soles of their feet to help equalize the pressure distribution when they walk. This helps to ensure that they do not put too much pressure on one foot.
Since elephants have extremely short necks, numerous activities are impossible without the assistance of their trunks. Their trunks have more than 150,000 clusters of muscles in them, and are used for smelling, touching and even transferring items and objects to their mouths for feeding purposes.
Last but not least, the fibrous plant materials in their diet can be difficult to digest and need to be chewed and ground into small pieces. This can be achieved with the large molars that they have.