Elephants are magical animals, and their noses are even more magical. No other animal in the world has such a long and flexible nose as an elephant. From ancestor elephants, mammoths to modern elephants, they have undergone tens of millions of years of evolution, gradually evolving from the size of a pig to The largest animal on earth.
The evolutionary history of the elephant's long nose is a very interesting link in the evolution of life on earth.
If you look back in history, the ancestors of elephants were born 55 million years ago, 1 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. The ancestor of the elephant was like a larger mouse. It had no nose at that time, but its upper lip was very flexible, much like the current tapir. The ancestor elephant was born 40 million years ago. It was larger than a pig, smaller than a cow, with a more prominent nose and a larger pair of incisors. They became the embryonic form of the elephant's trunk and ivory.
In the later time, elephants were favored by nature. Their body size grew and their mandibles became longer and longer, which affected the flexibility of elephants' activities. Unlike the evolution of giraffes, elephants can only shorten their heads, especially their jaws, in order to maintain their body balance. But in this case, the elephant can neither eat the leaves on the treetops nor the grass on the ground. In this case, the elephant’s nose replaced the neck. It became longer and more flexible. The nose became the elephant’s hands. 700 years ago, the elephant’s nose had already It's almost the same as modern elephants.
Now, elephants have long noses since they were born, but baby elephants cannot successfully master it, and they often trip over their long noses. The use of the elephant's nose requires continuous exercise the day after tomorrow to allow the nose to complete complex movements. The elephant’s trunk can help the elephant to grab objects at high places, even where the elephant can’t see it, and it can also help the elephant roll up the grass on the ground. This is very important for elephants, because elephants eat huge amounts of food every day, and this expands their food range.
In addition to feeding, the elephant’s nose is also a powerful olfactory organ. Of course, this is the original purpose of the nose. Elephants can smell various chemical signals on their trunks, helping them to court or avoid danger. The elephant's trunk can still absorb water, but the trunk can't drink water directly, and it has to deliver water to the mouth. In addition, the elephant’s trunk can also be used as a natural spray head to bathe its body.
In short, the elephant's nose can do the most complex tasks in the animal world, and its flexibility is no less than that of a human finger.
- Jul 31,2020
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