Tuesday, September 2, 2014

appearances are deceiving

is an elephant huge hulk with trunk and tusks similar to a hyrax a small furry rodent?

based on appearances you'd say "no." and yet, the hyrax is perhaps the elephant's closest relative. this is because of similarities in their re productive system, teeth structure and a common ancestor in the early fossil record a remote ancestor. in fact this remote ancestor is common to hyraxes, sea cows (dugongs and manatees) and elephants.

i give you a hippo and a whale:

they are cousins! the whale hind parts are now smaller and they are also internalized, but they used to be legs (it's called "atavism") and that is believed to be the result of a genetic code that will call for longer extremities to form. another change was that the nasal openings moved from the end of the snout to the top of the skull area. this is referred to as "nasal drift." those nostrils later evolved into blowholes so that they can get to the surface of the water, take in air, and then be submerged again with ease.

seen from an evolutionary-tree perspective:

did you know that dolphins and wolves are actually cousins!

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