African Elephants By Jillian Berman

Introduction

Organism common name: African Elephant Scientific name; Loxodonta
Description: African Elephants are the world's largest land animal, biggest is 7.5 meters long and 3.3 meters high. Weights 6 tonnes. Large ears are used to radiate excess heat. Trunk is used for extension of upper lip and nose which is used for communication/ handling objects. Tusks are used for fighting, feeding, and digging in both male and female.
Classification: Kingdom: Ammalia Phylum: Churdate Class: Mamalia Order: proboscidea family: Elephantidae Genus: Elephas Species: African Bush and forest elephants
Habitat description: African elephants are usually found in forests/wood areas throughout Eastern, central, southern, and western africa. When did it first evolve?: 50-60 million years ago.

Morphological and molecular evidence

Closest relatives:
Manatees (70%): manatees have two incisors that bear a resemblance to elephant tusk, both are endangered, they eat very similar, and a manatee has two toe nails on each flipper like elephants have two toe nails on each foot.
Manatees have two incisors that are similar to an elephant tusks.
Rock Hyrax (70%): Both of them live mostly in Africa, have similar skull features, both exhibit internal features that are not found in other mammals. both of them don't have a gall bladder, and their lungs are attached to their rib cage.
Elephant skeleton
Hyrax skeleton, similar skeleton as an elephant
Asian Elephant (98.5%): They are basically the same animal and have most of the same dna in them, just a little differences for them.
African elephant vs Asian elephant
elephants are believed to date back to 2,000 B.C. In these early times they were used to help building due to their size. people believe that a mammoth, which is now extinct, is an early form of an elephant. Elephants are seen as big animals but there is evidence to suggest that in prehistoric time, some elephants were the size of pigs and cows.

homologous structures

Comparison organisms:
Bats: Animals and bats both have phalanges but have different features. Bats can fly and are small while elephants are big and can walk.
Sea lion: Sea lions and elephants both have five fingers/toes/flippers and 3 toe nails, they also both have phalanges. Sea lions can swim, live in water, and have flippers. Elephants have 4 limbs to walk, are land animals, and are big.
Humans: Humans and elephants share many bones structures, for example they both have phalanges, a radius, ulna, and a humerus. They are common animals, they have many of the same bone structures and both our land organisms but have different functions. Humans can grab things with their hands, walk on two legs, and stand up tall. Elephants walk on four legs and are wider.
They all have similar structures which make them homologous structures!
elephants structure
Homologous structures are similar bones but different functions between the two organisms. Homologous structures show evidence of evolution because similar bone structures shows changes of arm/legs/body parts over time of different organisms and evolution of ancestors passing down traits throughout history.

vestigial structures

Vestigial structures of an african elephant:
Extra toe: There is an extra toe inside the foot of an elephant. It used to to help them stand up and is apart of the bone in the foot of an elephant, It is not very useful for them anymore but it used to be the most useful bone to help them walk before.
The extra toe bone in the elephants foot that is passed down from ancestors.
Vestigial structure is a body part or bone of an organism that doesn't really need it but gets passed down from common ancestors. Vestigial structures show evidence of evolution because it is passed down from ancestors but changes over time.

Traditional fossils

Manatee, http://www.earthhistory.org.uk/transitional-fossils/sirenians
Mammoth fossil, http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/mammoth/about_mammoths.html
Recent ancestors:
manatees: similarities of elephants and manatees are uncommonly shaped heart, spherical thick grey skull, herebrivores, and endangered. Differences of them is manatees don't have a tusk or trunk.
Mammoth: Similarities of elephants and mammoths are they both have trunks and tusks. Differences of them is that mammoths had a bigger tail and elephants show their trunk.
Traditional fossils are fossils that shows their ancestors traits and show the similarities and differences of today and back then. This shows evidence of evolution because it shows how elephants have changed from their ancestors to now.

Comparative embryology

http://thebawbselephantblog.blogspot.com/p/life-cycle.html
Comparative embryology shows that all embryos from many different animals are the exact same but eventually change into what they're supposed to be. This proves evidence of evolution because the embryo starts the same but changes overtime.

Work cited

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/elephants/african_elephants/

http://elephant.elehost.com/About_Elephants/Stories/Evolution/evolution.html

http://mentalfloss.com/article/30874/see-resemblance-surprising-family-ties-animal-kingdom

http://www.isfoundation.com/news/elephants-sea-living-cousin

http://www.second-opinion-doc.com/the-hyrax-and-the-elephant-distant-cousins.html

http://www.elephant-world.com/elephant-evolution/

http://www.uncommondescent.com/darwinism/elephants-extra-toe-another-vestigial-organ-bites-the-dust-in-this-case-literally/

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2011/12/22/6054/

http://margarita-carrillo.blogspot.com/2011/09/homologus-and-analogus-traits.html

Credits:

Created with images by roelroelofs - "amboseli national park kenya elephant" • Derek Keats - "Bigiphant, smalliphant. African elephants." • Rossi Remy - "Elephant" • alex.coles - "African elephant in sunset" • cocoparisienne - "elephant herd of elephants animals" • sussexbirder - "African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)" • cocoparisienne - "elephant african bush elephant wilderness" • cocoparisienne - "african bush elephant flock elephant" • Ajithpoison - "Elephants."

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