Smallest Mammoth Exposed

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The smallest dwarf mammoth, footing at under 4 feet (about 1 meter) at the shoulders, has been exposed on the Greek island of Crete, researchers say. These conclusions might facilitate succumb insights as to how giant animals can shrink to miniature sizes above evolutionary time, scientists added.

Dwarfism frequently happens to species of large animals when they get fascinated on islands, including dinosaurs. Scientists think dwarfism helps giants endure within the limits forced by islands.

Ancient Mediterranean dwarf elephants are particularly great examples of island dwarfism. Over the course of less than 800,000 years -- a short stretch on an evolutionary scale -- these dwarfs are thought to have tumbled down from larger European elephants, weighing 100 times as much, which lived on mainland Europe.

Teeth discovered more newly in the same area in Crete now propose the animal was in fact a mammoth, Mammuthus creticus. A pristine foreleg bone suggests it was the smallest mammoth known, standing only about 3 feet 8 inches (1.13 m) high at the shoulders and weighing only approximately 680 pounds (310 kilograms), making it about the size of a modern baby African or Asian elephant.

Mammuthus creticusis the first evidence for extreme island dwarfism in mammoths. It would have been comparable in size to the smallest dwarf elephant known, the extinct species Palaeoloxodon falconeri from Sicily and Malta, which stood only about 3 feet 5 inches (1.04 m) high at the shoulder and weighed only approximately 525 lbs. (238 kg).

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