See the Resemblance? Surprising Family Ties in the Animal Kingdom | Mental Floss
Oct 25, We know elephants are unique, but it might surprise you to learn that the elephant's closest living relative is the rock hyrax, a small, furry. Jun 9, Turns out, though, that manatees, rock hyraxes and elephants all shared readers have any other odd animal relationships you'd like to add?. The Hyrax may look like a guinea pig to the casual observer but looks can be very from habitat to habitat – it is thought that it has a direct relationship to how .
Hyraxes live in small family groups, with a single male that aggressively defends the territory from rivals. Where living space is abundant, the male may have sole access to multiple groups of females, each with their own range.
The Hyrax – The Elephant’s Cousin | The Ark In Space
The remaining males live solitary lives, often on the periphery of areas controlled by larger males, and mate only with younger females. Male hyraxes lack a scrotum and their testicles remain tucked up in their abdominal cavity next to the kidneys,   the same as in elephants, manatees, and dugongs.
Hyraxes, like elephants, have flattened nails on the tips of their digits, rather than curved, elongated claws which are usually seen on mammals. In Leviticus they are described as lacking a split hoof and therefore not being kosher.
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It also describes the hyrax as chewing its cud; this is technically inaccurate as the hyrax does not regurgitate its food to chew it again. Some of the modern translations refer to them as rock hyraxes.
Evolution[ edit ] Pachyhyrax championi, a large fossil hyrax from the Miocene of Rusinga, Kenya Natural History Museum collection All modern hyraxes are members of the family Procaviidae the only living family within Hyracoidea and are found only in Africa and the Middle East. In the past, however, hyraxes were more diverse, and widespread.
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The order first appears in the fossil record at a site in the Middle East in the form of Dimaitherium37 million years ago. Through the middle to late Eocenemany different species existed,  the largest of them weighing the same as a small horse and the smallest the size of a mouse. During the Miocenehowever, competition from the newly developed bovidswhich were very efficient grazers and browsers, displaced the hyraxes into marginal niches. Nevertheless, the order remained widespread and diverse as late as the end of the Pliocene about two million years ago with representatives throughout most of Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The descendants of the giant 'hyracoids' common ancestors to the hyraxes, elephants, and sirenians evolved in different ways.
Some became smaller, and evolved to become the modern hyrax family. Others appear to have taken to the water perhaps like the modern capybaraultimately giving rise to the elephant family and perhaps also the sirenians. Artists reconstruction of Arsinoitherium, an extinct embrithopod and member of the paenungulata. An ungulate is a generic term for animals with hoofed feet.
There are a number of different true ungulates including the odd-toed Perissodactyla e. Embrithopoda went extinct approximately 23mya during the Oligocene epoch. The oldest fossil of this order was found in Oman in a lagoonal or restricted shallow subtidal; brown limestone environment, dating back to the early Eocene A simplified phylogenetic tree of the probosicdeans and their relationship to other mammal orders.
Desmostylia are extinct marine mammals, fossils of which have been dated as far back as the Late Oligocene They are believed to have gone extinct approximately 7. Morphological similarity in skull and tusk fragments led Henry Osborn and Japanese scientists to group the Desmostylia with the Proboscids; however, in a complete skeleton was discovered on Sakhalin Island, Russia leading to the Desmostylia order being established in by Roy Reinhart.
The Hyracoidea hyraxes are small, furry, rodent-like animals which live in Middle to South Africa and the Middle East. DNA evidence supports the original hypothesis by Simpson that Hyracoidea are close relatives of elephants; they also share a number of morphological features including small tusks homologous with upper incisors, similar shaped bones and toenails.
Hyraxes were first thought to be closely linked to rhinoceros because of their similar dentition.
The Evolution and Diversity of Elephants and other Proboscideans
Similar morphological comparison also placed them with the odd-toed ungulates the Perissodactyla. Sequence analysis of amino acids was carried out with the results disproving the latter hypothesis and resulting in the placement of the Hyrax in their current position of basal group of the Paenungulata Top left: A rock hyrax Left: The Sirenia are a purely aquatic order and were first associated with elephants for their similar morphological features such as the position of teats, this was later confirmed by genetic analysis.
The clade was established in by Michael Stanhope and bases its groupings on relatively new DNA sequence data and repeated molecular analysis. The other clade in this superorder is the Paenungulata.