Animals That Possess A Backbone Or Spinal Column

2506 WordsMar 9, 201611 Pages
When people look at an elephant they see this enormous animal with large ears and a long trunk, but not many people realize the interesting features these amazing vertebrates have and how much this mammal has changed in the course of time. Vertebrates are chordate animals that possess a backbone or spinal column. All animals from the kingdom Animalia such as elephants, are vertebrates. The kingdom Animalia comes from the domain Eukarya, and the phylum Chordata is divided into six main classes: Mammals, Bony Fish, Cartilaginous Fish, Amphibians, Birds, and Reptiles. Elephants are in the order Proboscidea because they possess of a proboscis. A proboscis is a long nose of a mammal. The word Proboscidean comes from the greek root and literally…show more content…
The function of this anatomical structure has evolved over time and elephant’s have learned to do more and more with their trunks as the years go on. Elephants have adapted in many ways to live in various habitats such as: open savannas, tropical and subtropical regions, grasslands, and desert regions (IFAW). The structure of the trunk is long, ridged, and contains small sensory hairs. The trunk functions as a nose and an organ that helps control objects in their specific environment (Haynes 1991). The main purpose of the elephants trunk is to help with the process of eating and drinking water. Not only do they use it for feeding and drinking water, but the trunk is used for: lifting, bathing, smelling, snorkeling and communication. (Coupe 2004). The trunk of an elephant is about six feet long, one foot wide, and has more than 150,000 muscle bands. Elephants are born oblivious of how to use their trunks, but once they learn they start picking up objects either to the left or right. Since elephants evolved and now have a much smaller neck, their trunk is much longer and it helps in the process of feeding. About 80% of an elephant’s day is spent eating plants, branches, fruit, and tree bark. The tusks and trunk help aid in the process of breaking down large plants and tree bark to make it easier for the mouth. Elephants can stretch their trunks to reach objects 20 feet of the ground, which in fact has helped their feeding process a great deal. In the
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