Researchers have learned more about how ancient elephants evolved their dexterous trunks. They studied the extinct longirostrine elephant-like mammals from around 11-20 million years ago. These animals had elongated lower jaws and tusks, and researchers wanted to understand how they evolved these unique features. They also wanted to know why modern elephants are the only animals that can feed themselves using their trunks.

To do this, the researchers examined the crania and lower jaws of these ancient animals from three different families, and also looked at their enamel isotopes and narial structures. Their findings suggested that the mandible and trunk likely co-evolved in these ancient animals in response to environmental changes.

The study indicates that the development of the coiling and grasping trunk in one specific family of these ancient animals allowed them to survive in open environments. The team used modern computational mechanics and statistics to study these ancient animals, but note that more research into other aspects of their evolution could provide a clearer picture of their development.

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By hassani

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