Elephants are smarter, and humans are kinder than you’d think3 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Elephants may look dauntingly huge and terrifying, but here is something you probably didn’t know about them. Scientists have found that these gentle giants are supremely adaptive and intelligent (evolutionarily speaking). In other news, humans may not be just as cruel as we’ve always believed. So, how do these two bits of information correlate? Let’s find out.
At the end of the last ice age, several animals had left no trace on the planet. In other words, entire species had gone extinct. And until now, scientists believed that this happened because humans hunted these animals down for millions of years. Eventually, by the end of the second ice age, scientists predicted that humans had wiped out all the animals with whom they shared the land. But now, scientists have found that humans may have had little to do with the disappearance of these prehistoric creatures. In fact, they were struck by a familiar enemy: climate change.
Our oldest and most distant relatives started strutting about around 66 million years ago. On the other hand, modern humans arrived at the scene about 200,000 years ago, and the last Ice Age ended about 10,000 years ago.
So, who were these animals?
For millions of years, the planet was occupied by several species of plant-eating animals or herbivores. These animals ranged from the size of a pug to the size of an elephant or hippopotamus. All these animals were known as the proboscidian species.
Mastodonts, stegodonts, deinotheres, and different species of elephants are all examples of extinct proboscidian species.
How do scientists know how they died?
Scientists studied the bones and fossils of hundreds of proboscidian species and found some patterns. These patterns led them to the conclusion that proboscidian species went extinct due to climate change. Moreover, modern elephants are the only ones of the proboscidians still surviving.
With Excerpts From: CNN and Science Direct.