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Insular Dwarfism In Elephants

Dwarf elephants are typically of Pliocene to Pleistocene age (2.6 million to 12,000 years ago). Species of dwarf elephant have been found on Mediterranean Islands such as Malta, Sicily, Crete, Cyprus, and the Indonesian Islands. Additionally, the Channel Islands of California, Sardinia and Wrangel Island have fossil evidence of dwarf mammoths. The reduced size seen in these elephants is due to the interacting factors of the island rule. The dwarfs largely became extinct from the end of the Pleistocene and early Holocene (0.01 Ma) so it is assumed that dwarfing in these elephants occurred in hundreds of thousands of years indicating fast morphological evolution.

Insular dwarfism in Mammoths

Insular Dwarfism in Hominids

Insular Dwarfism in Dinosaurs

Authored by Emma Kerridge & Chris Rogers

Dicynodon Illustration courtesy of John Sibbick.
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