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The fossil skulls of dwarf elephants scattered throughout the coastal caves in Italy and the Greek islands, most likely inspired the one-eyed Cyclops in ancient Greek mythology.
During the ice age, land bridges emerged that allowed elephants to move to emerging islands to escape predators and/or find new food sources. As sea levels began to rise around the Mediterranean, these elephants became trapped and had to compete for limited amounts of food. According to the island rule, mammals tend to shrink or grow depending on the availability of resources in their environment.
The isolated elephants evolved, becoming smaller, depending on the island they found themselves on. The ones that were found on Cyprus were approximately 6 feet tall. The ancient elephants lived in relative peace until humans found their way to the islands. Within a century, they were over-hunted and became extinct.
By the time the Romans and Greeks came to occupy the Mediterranean islands, all that remained were skulls that were twice the size of those belonging to humans. These massive skulls also had a single hole right in the center that the Greeks and Romans mistakenly believed was an eye socket. It was in fact, a socket that was connected to the trunk of an extinct elephant.

Skulls - Cyclops - Dwarf Elephants - Italy And The Greek Isles.jpg

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