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All hippos, even those with different diets, secrete the pigments, so it does not appear that food is the source of the pigments.

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Ancestors of European hippos found their way to many islands of the Mediterranean Sea during the Pleistocene.

The Pleistocene also saw a number of dwarf species evolve on several Mediterranean islands, including Crete (Hippopotamus creutzburgi), Cyprus (the Cyprus dwarf hippopotamus, Hippopotamus minor), Malta (Hippopotamus melitensis), and Sicily (Hippopotamus pentlandi).

The lower canines and lower incisors are enlarged, especially in males, and grow continuously.

The incisors can reach 40 cm (1 ft 4 in), while the canines reach up to 50 cm (1 ft 8 in).

It is rarely found in deep water; when it is, the animal moves by porpoise-like leaps from the bottom.

The testes of the males descend only partially and a scrotum is not present.

The hippopotamus is among the most dangerous animals in the world as it is highly aggressive and unpredictable. A rough evolutionary lineage can be traced from Eocene and Oligocene species: Anthracotherium and Elomeryx to the Miocene species Merycopotamus and Libycosaurus and the very latest anthracotheres in the Pliocene.

They are threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth. Hippopotamuses are gregarious, living in groups of up to thirty animals. The hippopotamus is the type genus of the family Hippopotamidae. Merycopotamus, Libycosaurus and all hippopotamids can be considered to form a clade, with Libycosaurus being more closely related to hippos.

This secretion is initially colourless and turns red-orange within minutes, eventually becoming brown.

Two distinct pigments have been identified in the secretions, one red (hipposudoric acid) and one orange (norhipposudoric acid). They inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria, and their light absorption peaks in the ultraviolet range, creating a sunscreen effect.

In addition, the penis retracts into the body when not erect.

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