The Evolution of the Elephant Specie

Better Essays
The evolution of the elephant specie initiates the modification in the genetic traits of an elephant through sequential generations; hence the independent species divided into separate divisions. The subspecies therefore evolved and developed independently, and ultimately expanded and branched out to form advanced species, resulting in the formation and evolution of the modern elephant specie. The current elephant is a large herbivorous mammal, native in Southern Asia and Africa. The elephant species is the largest existing land animal, belonging to the family Elephantidae, and the order of Probiscidea. The elephant is characterised by the possession of a versatile trunk, capable of grasping objects and ivory tusks.

The evolution of the elephant specie arose within the Eocene and early Oligocene age, dating back perhaps 60 million years earlier. The earliest proboscideans have inhabited and populated all continents of the world, however with the slight exclusion of both Australia and Antarctica. The elephant specie encountered five major phases of evolution, the Phosphatherium, Moeritherium, Phiomia, Primelephas and the current evolution stage the modern elephant Loxodonta Africana and the Elephas Maximus, referred to as the African, Asian elephant. The original proboscides established the foundation of perhaps 352 species and subspecies. However due to the immense escalation of human settlement, mass habitat destruction and ultimately illegal poaching, unfortunately only two major species continue to exist within society.

The earliest ancestor of the elephant existed 60 million years earlier. The prehistoric genus Phosphatherium initiated the evolution of the modern elephant specie. Although the primitive mammal is the initial...

... middle of paper ...

...cumstances led to the formation of a rather short and broad neck, in addition to the modification of the second pair of incisors of the upper jaw into ivory tusks, although the two rudimentary tusks present in the lower jaw remained diminutive.

The physical adaptions adopted by the earliest elephants have led to the evolution of what is now recognised as the modern elephant species. The Phosphatherium, Moeritherium, Phiomia and Primelephas form the evolutionary line of the modern elephant, adapting larger physical structures, such as the skull, bones, limbs, figure and ears. Unfortunately the continuation of the elephant specie is threatened. Humans pose a great threat to the endangered elephant specie and risk the continuation and co-existence of the elephant. The evolution and continual reproduction of the elephant illustrates a significant element in society.
Get Access