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Nozdrokh

In Russian annals by the word “nozdrokh” any large animal, most likely mammoth meant, whose frozen carcasses occasionally had been founded by people, derivating every possible legends. Therefore the large animal of Neocene epoch, rather reminiscent by the constitution proboscides missed a long time ago, is named so. The extinction of large animals caused by chasing from the side of people, destruction of places of inhabiting and natural accidents, has released a way for evolution of groups of animals, not numerous and not variable before it, having allowed them to realize to the full the evolutionary potential. Among such “lucky beggars” of Neocene epoch non-ruminant artiodactyl mammals appeared. In North America dominant large animals peccasons from peccary family (Tayassuidae) appeared. But in Old World pigs (Suidae) have reached of the big success: among them ecological analogues of such various hoofed mammals, as horses, bulls, hippopotamuses, tapirs, and even proboscides have appeared.


Nozdrokh, the inhabitant of woods of Europe, is a huge descendant of the wild boar, whose growth at a shoulder reaches 2 meters. It differs in heavy addition and thick legs. Head of nozdrokh is rather big. Well-known tusks, the main weapon of boar, at this species had started to increase, resembling tusks of mammoth: they are bent upwards by half rings. It is convenient to rake by such tusks a wood litter in searches of roots and acorns. And in winter with the help of tusks nozdrokh easily scatters snow, reaching up to a last year's grass. Jaws of animal are rather short and strong, in case of necessity it can feed even with young branches of trees and bark which it peels out by tusks. As against to proboscides, at nozdrokhs the “conveyor” of replacing teeth is not formed. Snout characteristic for pigs at ancestors of nozdrokh started to grow in length, and became short, but flexible high-grade trunk. Due to it the animal can lift even a small acorn from the ground. Inside the trunk there are some pairs of plicas of epithelium. They serve as original additional “vocal chords”, expanding a spectrum of sounds uttering by the nozdrokh - from the trumpet roar similar to elephant’s voice, up to silent chirp and squeak. Ears of nozdrokh are short – it lives in rather cool climate, and problem of overheat do not arise at it. The animal is covered with a shaggy rough wool of brown color. To winter at it the rich underfur grows, permitting to endure rigorous frosts. In ecosystem of woods of Europe nozdrokh partly occupies an ecological niche of large wood hoofed mammals – aurochs and urus. It mainly eats leaves of trees and bushes, adding to them fern rhizomes, tubers and bulbs of various plants. In summer nozdrokhs willingly feed near reservoirs, pulling out by tusks whole bushes of reed. Near reservoirs nozdrokhs spend the hottest days of summer. Due to wide feet they easily cross bogs, and frequently come to bogs to wallow in dirt and to cool. This animal keeps in small herds (up to 5 - 6 animals) under the leading of adult male. It does not tolerate competitors, and expels young males from herd when they become independent (at the age of approximately 2 years). Except for him, in herd there are 2 - 3 sexual matured females and other individuals are young growth. Young males expelled from family groups, form barchelor groups of 2 - 4 animals. They more tolerantly concern to each other until will get own harem. Animals in group constantly communicate with each other with the help of various sound signals – this way of communication is especially good in rich wood where animals frequently lose sight of each other. Female every time gives rise to one cub once per 2 years. It feeds exclusively with her milk, but in case of danger can expect for protection of any of females of herd. The cub is born rather weak. It is covered with longitudinal strips – this is the type of juvenile colouring, characteristic for pigs. First two days of its life all herd stays at the place, preserving it and expecting while it will start to walk and will get stronger enough. Gradually strips on its back become dimmer and disappear to bi-monthly age. Sexual maturity comes at the age of approximately 20 months, and life expectancy may account about 40 years.

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