Elefant Rani in Sonderausstellung Präparierter Schädel ist heute Teil der Wirbeltiersammlung des Naturkundemuseums.
20. Juli 2021 TEXT: 0

Under the title „brought to light“, the Natural History Museum Karlsruhe is showing a special showcase with parts of its collection that otherwise slumber behind the scenes. The skull of the cow elephant Rani, who lived in the Karlsruhe Zoo until her death in 2019, will be presented there until September.

Rani (r.) With colleague Nanda in Karlsruhe Zoo in 2017
The Indian elephant Rani (r.) With her colleague Nanda in the Karlsruhe Zoo in 2017

For many years Rani and her three elephant colleagues Trulli, Nepal and Shanti were one of the main attractions of the zoo in Karlsruhe and in the end the last surviving animal of this well-known quartet. After the death of the others, the elephants Jenny and Nanda moved into the enclosure.

Rani was the lead cow of the Karlsruhe elephants

For many years, Rani was the lead cow of the elephant group, fittingly her name means queen in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. As a two-year-old cub, Rani came to Karlsruhe from India in 1957. She was a tomboy at the time, and when she died at the age of 63, she was the oldest Indian elephant living in a German zoo. Thanks to her prepared skull, which is now part of the vertebrate collection of the Natural History Museum, she will remain in the city even after her death.

Rani comes to Germany in 1957
Rani came to Karlsruhe in 1957 at the age of two

„The anatomical peculiarities of the elephants become clear on the prepared skull. A striking feature is the large frontal nostril to which the trunk attaches prominent opening was mistaken for a huge eye socket, „reports the Natural History Museum.

In each half of the jaw there is only one large molar that is used to grind the vegetable food. With the “horizontal tooth change”, the one currently present molar tooth falls out after a while and is replaced by the next. In the elderly Rani, the last molars have already been severely chewed; the tooth in the top right was missing during his lifetime.

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