Presentation on theme: "Elephants Elephants George Sar Per. 4. Basic Information Elephants are a family in the order Proboscidea in the class Mammalia. There are three living."— Presentation transcript:
Basic Information Elephants are a family in the order Proboscidea in the class Mammalia. There are three living species: the African Bush Elephant, the African Forest Elephant, until recently known collectively as the African Elephant, and the Asian Elephant,also known as the Indian Elephant. Other species have become extinct since the last ice age, which ended about 10,000 years ago, the Mammoth being the most well-known of these.
Adaptation The trunk, is a fusion of the nose and upper lip, elongated and specialized to become the elephant's most important and versatile appendage. African elephants are equipped with two fingerlike projections at the tip of their trunk, while Asians have only one. According to biologists, the elephant's trunk may have over forty thousand individual muscles in it, making it sensitive enough to pick up a single blade of grass, yet strong enough to rip the branches off a tree.
Ancestor Most populations of the woolly mammoth in North America died out at the end of the last Ice Age. Until recently it was generally assumed, that the last woolly mammoths vanished from Europe about 10.000 BC, but new findings show, that some were still present here about 8.000 BC. Only slightly later the woolly mammoths also disappeared from continental Northern Siberia. Woolly mammoths as well as Columbian mammoths disappeared from the North American continent at the end of the ice age.
Habitat Elephants require a lot of space. They need space to find enough food to eat lots of grasses, trees and shrubs. They also need a good supply of water to drink and to bathe in. They often have to travel many miles to find the food and water they need to survive.
Food chain Elephants eats leaves from plants and from trees. The only thing that eats elephants is lions. Calves are the most common victims of the lions to eat.
Human Impact The threat to the African elephant presented by the ivory trade is unique to the species. Larger, long-lived, slow- breeding animals, like the elephant, are more susceptible to overhunting than other animals. They cannot hide, and it takes many years for an elephant to grow and reproduce. An elephant needs an average of 300 pounds of vegetation a day to survive. As large predators are hunted, the local small grazer populations find themselves on the rise.
Evolution Although the fossil evidence is uncertain, scientists discovered genetic evidence that the elephant family shares distant ancestry with the sirenians (sea cows) and the hyraxes through gene comparisons. In the distant past, members of the hyrax family grew to large sizes, and it seems likely that the common ancestor of all three modern families was some kind of amphibious hyracoid. One theory suggests that these animals spent most of their time under water, using their trunks like snorkels for breathing. Modern elephants have retained this ability and are known to swim in that manner for up to 6 hours and 50 km (30 miles).
Homosexuality African as well as Asiatic males will engage in same-sex bonding and mounting. Such encounters are often associated with affectionate interactions, such as kissing, trunk intertwining, and placing trunks in each other's mouths. The encounters are analogous to heterosexual bouts, one male often extending his trunk along the other's back and pushing forward with his tusks to signify his intention to mount.
Religion The scattered skulls of prehistoric pygmy elephants on Crete, featuring a single large nasal cavity at the front, may have formed the basis of belief in existence of Cyclops, the one-eyed giants featured in Homer's Odyssey. A white elephant is considered holy in Thailand. Ganesh, the Hindu god of wisdom, has an elephant's head. Elephants are used in festivals in Sri Lanka, such as the Esala Perahera.