Futuristic Animal. <------ Click here

Fossiled Ancient Animal. <------ Click here

African Elephant.

The order under which Elephants are classified is the Proboscidea. the meaning of Proboscidea species is simply animals with trunks/proboscis.

An elephant has a trunk to spray water, and ears to keep him cool. The big ears flap a cool breeze onto him(the elephant)to also keep him cool.I also know one behavioral adaption of elephants that has been proven. They roll in mud in the wild. They do this, so that when it dries, it becomes hard, and neither the flies, nor sun can get to their unprotected back. At the zoo, sometimes elephants will throw hay on themselves. I have actually seen an elephant do this before. The behavioral adaption is to cover themselves in order to help protect themselves against insects and the sun.It also has tusks to protect them selves.


you can get structural, functional and behavioural adaptations.

behavioural are behaviours that an animal doesnt learn but knows instinctively like migration or mating rituals.

functional is concerned with the working of an animals body, life functions like reproduction and metabolism. hibernation is a good example. i suppose with the elephant it would just be what the elephant is able to eat, etc. but that is a bad example.

and structural is a phsical feature of the organism, its size or shape or the way it is coloured; like the elephants trunk and its big ears and leathery skin.

functional adaptations are those that animals develop in order to have an advantage in a certain environment/habitat/niche. These usually happen slowly during the evolution of an animal. If this is the case, a functional adaptation for the elephant may be its trunk. As its trunk has allowed it to adapt to different environmental changes (i.e. height of food source, lack of limbs for specific movement [can't think of how to phrase this... e.g. they do not have hands or paws that can have many uses]). It has also allowed elephants to occupy their own niche.

Fossil animal (Palaemastodon)

About 50-60 million years ago, the ancestors of the modern elephant occupied a variety of extreme environments; this includes from tropical rain forests to deserts in both low and high altitudes. Incredibly, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica, the proboscideans have over time inhabited every single continent on Earth. Why did all but two become extinct? One possible explanation for their disappearance may be found in the inability of the order to evolve to environmental change fast enough. One of the determining factors in this is the more specialized a particular genus of animals, then the more likely they they will become extinct in periods of dramatic climate and environmental change. Both of the surviving African and Asian elephants have a wide range of attributes which give them the ability to survive and to even thrive in mild to extreme environmental conditions. Obviously, this is probably not the only reason for the disappearance of most of the order, but serves as a good generalization for a reason why the multiple families of the order disappeared over time.
The family Elephantidae is the root from which the mammoth, Asian elephant, and African elephant came from. Interestingly, the Asian elephant is more closely related to the extinct mammoth than to the African elephant. The following categories apply to the tree in which the elephant has been placed. It is part of the Animalia kingdom, Chordata phylum, Vertebrata subphylum, Mammalia class, and Proboscidea order.
It is believed that 50-60 million years ago, mammals approximately the size of current day pigs, were the roots from which the proboscideans evolved from. Interestingly, based on both morphological and biochemical evidence, it is agreed that the manatees, dugongs, and hyraxes are the closest living relatives of the today's elephants. It is incredible to believe given the vastly different sizes, external appearance and the fact that they occupy completely different habitats.