Thursday, 10 May 2012

World's Smallest Mammoth Discovered

The smallest dwarf mammoth, standing at under 4 feet (about 1 meter) at the shoulders, has been uncovered on the Greek island of Crete, researchers say.

These findings could help yield insights as to how giant animals can shrink to tiny sizes over evolutionary time, scientists added.

Dwarfism often happens to species of large animals when they get trapped on islands,including dinosaurs. Scientists think dwarfism helps giants survive within the limits imposed by islands.

Ancient Mediterranean dwarf elephants are especially extreme examples of island dwarfism. Over the course of less than 800,000 years — a short stint on an evolutionary scale — these dwarfs are thought to have descended from larger European elephants, weighing 100 times as much, which lived on mainland Europe.

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