STL Science Center

STL Science Center

17 July 2015

A New Week

First of all, I admit I omitted yesterday's entry. In part it was because I do not have a good writing schedule these days; I really need to get back into having a set time to sit and write every day so I am going to schedule that in. Additionally, there was nothing to really say about the past week's animal in terms of popularity. The crocodile just is not popular for a variety of reasons, chief amongst those being that it has simply escaped the popular culture knowledge base for a good while now.

This week, however, we have a semi-popular herbivorous fossil animal to discuss. There have been a number of elephant and elephantine animals discussed here over the years, however, we have managed to avoid one of the stranger proboscids (the order Proboscidae includes the African and Asian elephants) that has walked about on the planet. Deinotherium is a genus of near-elephants that possessed downwardly curving tusks situated in a medial rostral position of the mandible. Ranging over Africa and Eurasia, Deinotherium species were important figures in many landscapes and, as we can see now, were very curious looking animals. Even older illustrations, like Heinrich Harder's happy proboscid below, are accurate in respect to their strange mandibles. Hopefully we can find a good explanation of this morphology this week!

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