Re: Morgan Tears 3.

David Froehlich (
Mon, 30 Oct 1995 14:28:25 -0600

On Mon, 30 Oct 1995, Troy Kelley wrote:

> >It's unclear to me why AAHers would want to use elephants as an analogy
> >for the AAH argument, except as the very worst sort of argumentation.
> >Elephants are terrestrial animals. The fact that they take a bath
> >occasionally doesn't change that.
> I thought someone posted that elephants had some kind of aquatic
> ancestor? Didn't you see that Alex? Perhaps some kind of seal and
> elephants share a common ancestor (the elephant seal mabe?).

I hope you are not serious. The last common ancestor of elephants and
seals is some sort of small insectivourous mammal, probably in the
Cretaceous. The last serious contender for aquatic proboscidean is
Moeritherium or Numidotherium from the Eocene of North Africa. All
subsequent proboscideans are much more terrestrial.

> I would not be surprised to find that elephants have been aquatic at one
> time.

See above, Note that this is about 50 million years ago.

> There was a pepsi commercial recently that showed an elephant swimming
> buy using his nose as sort of a snorkel. Apparently elephants can swim
> quite well using this technique.

There are examples of long distance movements by elephants (probably
island hopping in the Miocene into the Indonesian archipeligo, Ceylon,
Sulawesi) But they do not move incredibly far (or else why no elephants
in Australia, it would seem to be the perfect habitat)(similarly, no
gomphotheres into South america until the Panamanian landbridge was made).

I sure hope your post was sarcastic but I treated it as a serious question.

David J. Froehlich Phone: 512-471-6088
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory Fax: 512-471-5973
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
The University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712