Saturday, November 12, 2011

DEINOTHERIUM (Cousin to Elephants): Exercise Your Imagination

The second largest Mammal ever to walk on land was Deinotherium, a cousin to the Early Elephants.  Living during Miocene and Pliocene Periods (20 million years ago (mya) to 2 mya), He belonged to the Deinotheres Family, a sister group to Elephants and Mastodons.  In fact, Deinotherium lived side by side with Them in Africa and Eurasia until the coming of the Ice Age.
            Although Deinotherium resembled an Elephant, He had a shorter and flatter skull.  His notable features were his two tusks that curved downwards from his lower jaw.  The curved shape of his tusks made them perfect for digging for roots and tubers.  Using his tusks, Deinotherium could scrape bark off trees for good.
            In many African sites, Deinotherium fossils have often been found with early Hominids such as Australopithecus.  Later his fossil tusks were discovered on the island of Crete.  (Deinotherium was an excellent swimmer.)  The ancient Greeks uncovered his fossil remains throughout the Greek peninsula.
            From Deinotherium’s bones and teeth, the Greeks imagined monsters and giants.  His odd tusks gave them more splendid ideas for their legends.  Because his skull had a hole in the center (for his trunk), the Greeks believed Deinotherium to be the Cyclops.
            Deinotherium sparks the imagination.  His odd tusks, which curve downwards, can lead us to flights of fantasy.  His huge size gives us pause of how our ancient ancestors lived around Him.  His skull hole formed the ancient myths of the Cyclops.  Let Him help you with your story making.  What myth can Deinotherium inspire next for you?

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