Scott was trying to get video of the area between their eyes, to show how it vibrates when they rumble. It starts with Maia, but Guida wants her turn to share as well. It can be hard, in this video, to see the vibrations, but you can see the area rise and fall with their deep breaths. At the end, you can also see Maia stick her trunk in Guida’s mouth.
People have asked about this behavior being to search for food (especially when Maia is doing it), but in the video you can see she is smelling the roof of her mouth. This is where their Jacobson’s Organ is located, which is a patch of sensory cells that detect heavy moisture-borne odour particles. This organ is also useful in the process of communicating chemical messages and may also be involved in the detection of chemical signals related to aggression and territoriality. Elephants can be seen both blowing smells from their trunks, into their mouths in this area as well as allowing other elephants to smell this area.
June 23, 2019