Anancus

Name: Anancus ‭(‬After a king of Rome‭)‬.
Phonetic: An-an-cus.
Named By: Aymard‭ ‬-‭ ‬1885.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Paenungulata,‭ ‬Proboscidea,‭ ‬Gomphotheriidae.
Species: A.‭ ‬arvernensis,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬alexeevae,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬brazosius,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬cuneatus,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬kazachstanensis,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬perimensis,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬sinensis,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬sivalensis,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬osiris,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬petrocchii,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬kenyensis.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: 3‭ ‬meters high at the shoulder,‭ ‬tusks up to‭ ‬4‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Across Africa,‭ ‬Europe and central Asia.
Time period: From Aquitanian of the Miocene through to Gelasian of the Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Multiple specimens.

       Although not the largest of prehistoric elephants,‭ ‬Anancus stands out from the crowd with its greatly elongated tusks which could reach lengths of up to four meters,‭ ‬almost as long as the body.‭ ‬These tusks which were like in all elephants modified teeth,‭ ‬are thought to have been used to root up plants that were in front of it.‭ ‬Once loosened up,‭ ‬Anancus could then take a few steps forward and pick the plants up with its trunk.‭ ‬This kind of foraging behaviour would have allowed Anancus to specialise in feeding upon plants‭ ‬that were beyond the capability of herbivores.
       Although first appearing in the Miocene period,‭ ‬Anancus already has a more modern elephant body form,‭ ‬particularly with its shorter neck.‭ ‬The legs of Anancus however were still proportionately shorter than they were in modern forms.‭ ‬Anancus seems to have been a common sight in Africa during the Miocene and Pliocene with European and Asian deposits appearing during the Pliocene and continuing into the first stage of Pleistocene.‭ ‬Anancus does not seem to have survived beyond this point in the Pleistocene however,‭ ‬probably because of the on-going series of glaciations changing the environment,‭ ‬as well as competition from mammoths that were better adapted to live in this environment.

Further reading
- Interrelationships of late Neogene elephantoids: new evidence from the Middle Awash Valley, Afar, Ethiopia. - J. E. Kalb & D.J. Froelich - 1995.



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