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PHOTOS: Wacky Animal Evolution Stories

Huffington Post     First Posted: 08/12/10 08:58 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:15 PM ET

Did you know that polar bears evolved from brown bears? Or that chickens are the descendants of tyrannosaurus rex? Did you hear that the nambaroo, the ancestor of the kangaroo, had fangs and moved on four legs?

We here at HuffPost Green love animals, which is why we decided to create a slideshow of unexpected animal evolution stories. As always, we want to hear from you. Tell us about your favorite interesting animal evolutions in the comments.


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  • Polar Bears Evolved From Brown Bears

    Did you know that polar bears have survived for 200,000 years and that they are the most recent type of bear species? <a href="http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/polar-bears/bear-essentials-polar-style/adaptation/evolution" target="_hplink">Scientists</a> believe that polar bears evolved from brown bears in Siberia as a result of isolation from a glacier. Fur color, body shape and sharper teeth are some of the evolutionary changes that occurred. Polar bears and grizzly bears are also able to breed, creating the naturally occurring <a href="http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/pets-animals/stories/what-do-you-get-when-you-cross-a-polar-bear-with-a-grizzly" target="_hplink">grolar bear</a>.

  • From Wolf To Dog

    Modern day dogs are <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/5/l_015_02.html" target="_hplink">descendants</a> of the gray wolf. The evolution was triggered by man's selection of wolves with "<a href="http://www.mnn.com/local-reports/pennsylvania/local-blog/evolution-of-the-dog-wolf-to-woof" target="_hplink">puppy-like</a>" traits.

  • Chickens Evolved from Tyrannosaurus Rex

    The most prominent theory about the origin of the chicken is that the modern-day chickens' pre-historic origin is the tyrannosaurus rex. Through <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-448283/Proof-fearsome-T-Rex-evolved-chicken.html" target="_hplink">scientific analysis</a> of collagen, scientists confirmed a genetic connection between the dinosaur and the chicken as T-Rex collagen is nearly identical to the modern-day chicken.

  • How the Zebra Got Its Stripes

    <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084511.htm" target="_hplink">Modern-day zebras </a>are descended from the <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928084511.htm" target="_hplink">Equus quagga</a>, a South African species that resembled a horse and zebra, which were related to the Plains zebras. The quagga, now extinct, had zebra-like stripes on its front half, while its back half boasted no markings, much like a horse. <a href="http://green.yahoo.com/blog/guest_bloggers/36/six-amazing-hybrid-animals.html" target="_hplink">Zebroids</a> are a current-day hybrid, a mix between a zebra and an equine, such as a horse or donkey.

  • Early Kangaroos Resembled Dogs

    The original <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3317449/Early-kangaroos-had-fangs-and-ran-on-all-fours.html" target="_hplink">kangaroos</a> did not hop around. Instead they ran on all fours, were the size of a tiny dog, climbed trees and had canine-like fangs. Known as <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3317449/Early-kangaroos-had-fangs-and-ran-on-all-fours.html" target="_hplink">nambaroos</a>, the early ancestor of the kangaroo ate fruit that fell from trees and loved fungi. Kangaroos adjusted to the grassy climate that developed <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3317449/Early-kangaroos-had-fangs-and-ran-on-all-fours.html" target="_hplink">10 to 15 million years ago</a> by becoming larger and gaining hopping skills.

  • Cows Evolved From Whales

    Although many people think that cows evolved straight from whales, this direct link is actually a myth. Cows and whales do share a common ancestor: the Pakicetus. One <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/aprilholladay/2004-03-11-wonderquest_x.htm" target="_hplink">scientists</a> believes the two animal types to be as related as "cousins."

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