Animal Diaries Archive
Modern Day Mammoths
28 March 2008
A big G’day to our regular readers, and welcome to our new ones. This week has us reflecting on the evolution of the Asian Elephant. A lot of people may not be aware that the Asian Elephant is the most closely related elephant species to the Wooly Mammoth. We can still see resemblances of their ancient ancestors in our modern day elephants.
When looking at the Asian elephant you would notice the beautiful pink highlights around the ears and trunk area. This pink highlight is the base colour for the Asian elephant and as they get into their older years the main black pigmentation fades and the pink starts to show through in flecks over the body. It is believed that if you took the wooly coat off the mammoths their skin would have been that pink colour all over. As the mammoths evolved and migrated to warmer climates and adapted to the world changing the need for thick wooly coats became less necessary. However having pink skin exposed to the sun wasn’t good either so they slowly took on a dark skin pigment and started covering their bodies with dirt to protect the skin.
When looking closely at an elephant you will notice they still have quite a bit of hair over their bodies and that helps to hold the dirt that protects the skin like sun screen as well as working like an insect repellant.
Well that’s it for now from the elephant team.
Take care and remember Elephants and Croc’s Rule!