Re: more on aquatic eleph

David Froehlich (
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 14:37:59 -0600

On 20 Nov 1995 wrote:

> (J. Moore) wrote:
> >So we find that tusks are only found in either terrestrial,
> >aquatic, or swamp-dwelling mammals.
> Why do elephants have tusks then, jim?

Well the easiest answer (and the one you should be capable of looking up
yourself) is that they use the tusks as tools. Both Loxodonta and
Elephas use the tusks to pry, rip, excavate, etc. Wear facets on the
ventral surfaces of mammoth tusks suggest that they used theirs to clean
snow off of grazing areas. Are these functions purely aquatic?

You seem to think that the tusks are somehow phylogenetically related to
aquatic habitats. The only answer I can give you is "Bullshit!!!".
These features are independantly aquired. If you want to make the
arguement that all aquatic mammals have tusks then you are sadly
mistaken. Arguements that they are aquired by aquatic animals are pure
speculation and driven by an AAS set of preconceptions (This must be true
so lets look for evidence that is consistent with it!!).

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