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The Evolution Of The Elephants

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erin depauw

on 30 April 2014

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Transcript of The Evolution Of The Elephants

The Evolution Of The Elephants

Earliest Ancestors and intermediate forms that led to the modern animal
It is thought that the first elephant ancestors began their journey through the evolutionary cycle 60 million years ago. This was when Condylartha (herbivorous mammals) evolved into Ungulata (Latin word for "provided with hooves") from this period the Ungulate split into 5 groups. It is thought that the modern day elephant evolved from an aquatic animal that used its trunk like a snorkel while it spent extended periods of time beneath the surface of the water, because even today elephants are able to swim under water for hours with only their trunk exposed. According to these theories elephants (probocidea) are closely related to Manatees. Also the Eritherium Azzouzorum in the oldest known elephant ancestor.
Compare & Contrast modern and intermediate species adaptations
Well obviously Earth has changed over millions of years which means the animals that roam this Earth while it changes also have to change to adapt to the changes around them.
Millions of years ago the elephants ancestors were a lot smaller and shorter which means they probably ate things smaller than what the modern 15,000 LB. elephant would eat. they also had smaller trunks which means they had to adapt a different way to clean themselves and drink rather than a modern elephant using its trunk as a nose, hose, and hand.
Another adaptation that elephants today don't have is hair, during the ice age woolly Mammoths had coats of fur that they adapted to keep them warm.
Modern Relatives & Their Adaptations
The modern Asian Elephant is more closely related to the woolly Mammoth than the African Elephant, the difference is that African Elephants were the first modern species to split from the main branch of the elephant family tree/ asian elephants and woolly mammoths brached off about 440,000 years later. Today African & Indian elephants are the only proboscideans alive , The closest living relatives of the modern elephant are the dassie, hyrax, and manatees
Compare & Contrast Environmental Conditions That Influenced Evolution

About 10 million years ago there a very long ice age which the Woolly Mammoths were alive then , they had long coats of fur to keep them warm during the long cold period and long curved tusk that were used for mating rituals, protection and digging snow for food, they also had chewing teeth which they could chew food that they were adapted to eat during that time period. After the mammoths came the mastodons which had less fur than mammoths which means the ice age was melting and they were adapting to a warmer climate. The only time the ancestors of the elephants had fur was when the ice age was here which they grew fur to adapt to the cold climate, but as the warmer the climate got the more the elephants bodies adapted to the changing environment around them, which today elephant are suited for the hot and grassy/sandy environment which they have evolved to adapt to.
Timeline Of Evolution

Elephants are apart of Mammal order Proboscidea and also the family Elephantidae. The ungulate split into 5 groups
1.) Eparctocyon (animals with cloven hooves or even toes)
2.) Cete (whales & dolphins)
3.) Phenacodonta (horses, tapirs and rhinos)
4.) Meridungulata (an extinct species)
5.) Paenungulata (superorder- Elephant ancestors)


1.) <Http://www.sanparks.com>
2.) <Http://Student.Societyforscience.org>
3.) <Http://www.elephantsforever.com>
4.) <Http://news.nationalgeographic.com>
5.) <www.ecotravel.com>
6.) <Http:scribol.com>
7.) <kids.britannica.com>
8.) <Http://www.echantedlearning.com>
Characteristics Of The Elephant
Over the millions of year that elephants have evolved into the elephant we know and see today, their trunks have grown longer which makes a more efficient eating system, taller and longer bodies, snouts began to take the shape of a trunk which allowed them to eat off the ground, trunks were naturally selected over droopy jaws, trunks are also helpful with sniffing out approaching predators. Elephants ears are actually a giant cooling system, as the elephants heat up they open more and more blood vessels in their ears, 450 liters of an Elephants blood can be ran through the ears in 20 minutes, flapping the ears cools the blood before it returns to the bod, hints why the African elephant's ears are larger because they are exposed to more sun for which they need a bigger cooling system. Elephants also walk tip toed supported by layers of shock absorbers surrounding the bones. The elephant's trunk has 150,000 muscles, their legs are adapted to support great weight. Their skin became more rough to handle the type of environment they live in now a days. the ancestors of the elephants looked more like a pig than a dinosaur
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