This question came from one of the teachers at my daughter’s school, who was asking on behalf of her son.
Since I couldn’t do an experiment to figure out which is stronger (because I don’t have an elephant and dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago), I had to find out lots of facts about both kinds of animal and try to work out their relative size and strength.
Elephants are the largest land mammals on Earth. The African elephant weighs up to 8 tons; Asian elephants are a bit smaller. They live in large groups, or herds, and eat plants. And they can run and swim.
Elephants have large bodies, large ears and long trunks. They use their trunks to pick up objects, to make a noise, to drink, and to wave ‘hello’ to other elephants! Elephant trunks contain lots of muscles and elephants can even use them to pull trees out of the ground.
Elephants are super-strong: they can carry up to one-and-a-half times their own body weight. That’s as much as 9,000kg or about 130 adult humans!
Here are some more really interesting facts about elephants.
Diplodocus was a kind of dinosaur that lived in the Jurassic Period, about 150 million years ago. It had a very long neck and an even longer tail. The name ‘diplodocus’ means ‘double beam’ because these dinosaurs had two rows of bones to keep their enormously long tails supported.
Scientists have found an almost complete skeleton of a diplodocus, from which they were able to work out that the dinosaur was about 90 feet (27.4 metres) long! We don’t know for sure how heavy a diplodocus would have been but the best guess is between 11 and 17 tons – up to twice as much as an African elephant!
We think that a diplodocus would have walked a bit like an elephant but probably wouldn’t have been able to move very quickly because of its super-long neck and tail. We also think that it might have used its strong, long tail to fight off predators.
And here are some diplodocus facts.
So, although we’ll never know for sure which would be stronger, given that the diplodocus was so much larger than the elephant, I think it would probably be the stronger animal.
What do you think?