Monday, June 24, 2013

EXTINCT ELEPHANTS


The elephant taxonomic order, proboscidea, has only 3 members today, but it used to have over forty. Most of these thrived until the end of the last glacial period 12500 years ago. These creatures were generally similar in size to modern Asian elephants, although there were tiny dwarf elephants and the humongous deinotherium, 4.5m tall and weighing 14 tons.

For comparison, the largest African bush elephant recorded was 4m tall and weighed 12 tons. Within proboscidea, the mastodon family mammutidae contains modern elephants and the very famous mammoths.

Mammoths had long curved tusks and were much hairier than even modern Asian elephants. The last mammoth to go extinct was the woolly mammoth, whose numbers had dwindled as the climate warmed and was finally hunted to extinction in Europe, Asia, and the Americas 12000 years ago, although some populations isolated from humans persisted until as recently as 4000 years ago.

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Retro Kimmer

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