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Rhynporc

Picture by Tim Morris

Typical residents of eastern Africa during the Holocene were strange animals - elephant shrew (Macroscelididae). Similar in appearance to the shrews with long proboscis, they are anatomically and genetically elephant relatives, so their systematic position has long been a mystery to zoologists.

When Zinj Land broke away from the African continent, among the animals that live on it, there were representatives of the elephant shrew fmaily (Rhynchocyon). When the climate became milder, rainforests captured almost the entire territory of the subcontinent, and steppe species disappeared. But of proboscis dog survived and formed several species, including the largest - the shaggy forest elephant.

This animal looks similar to some to realize hallucination, so it is unusual look. It's a beast the size of a large pig (body length - up to half a meter, not including the tail) on long thin legs with short blunt claws. The body is covered with short hair chestnut color with white patches of irregular shape forming pattern varies in different individuals. Sometimes they come across almost entirely brown and white birds with a few contrasting spots. The hind legs are slightly longer and stronger than the front, so the beast back is tilted forward, and in case of danger, the animal can sometimes jump a certain distance only on its hind legs like a kangaroo. Fingers on the front legs of the animal moving - if necessary, the animal may be dug out, grab and bring the food to your mouth. The tail is very long (up to half a meter), covered with sparse hair. The head of the beast like a dog, but it is much broader, and high cheek-bones. The eyes are large, large mobile ears sticking up. The most remarkable feature of this animal - its muzzle. She pulled out a long proboscis sensor (up to 15 cm), with which the animal is looking for food - large insects, spiders, worms and small vertebrates. Also, he is very fond of sweet berries and willingly feeds the trees in which the birds feast, picking up scraps of fruit. If possible, the animal eats carrion and preys on wounded bird.

Forest elephants live in pairs, persisting for life. In the year of the female cub is one (he was born sighted and covered with hair), which is held on the first days of the mother's breast, clinging to her hair, and then - on the back. He became an independent in the six-month of age, and already he can produce offspring at age 3 years.

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