Why do some animals have large ear flaps?
Human architecture is based on the usefulness of the senses. Our ears are designed in order for us to receive signals from the world where our eyes cannot see. Because we can keep our ears clean using our hands, our 'ear flaps' don't need to be as large as other animals' ear flaps. Also, our other senses offer us more information, so our ear flaps don't require more area to capture sounds and direct them…
The ear flaps help to direct sound into the inner ear; elephants have very good hearing. The ear flaps have many blood vessels that help to cool the elephant when flapped in the air. Also, a distressed or charging elephant will thrust out their ear-flaps to make them appear more threatening, and signalling their anger/distress.
Seals and sea lions are marine mammals called 'pinnipeds' that differ in physical characteristics and adaptations. Sea lions (left) are brown, bark loudly, "walk" on land using their large flippers and have visible ear flaps. Seals have small flippers, wriggle on their bellies on land, and lack visible ear flaps.
A damp ear is a perfect breeding ground for fungus or bacteria, especially for dogs with ear flaps (ears that hang down). When bathing your dog, be sure to not let water into the ears--use cotton to block the ear canal. If your dog's a swimmer, use a towel and then some cotton balls to dry the ears.