Asian elephant Elephas maximus photographed by Manoj Sindagi.

Belongs within: Elephantidae.

Though represented in the modern fauna only by the Asian elephant Elephas maximus, the genus Elephas is first recorded in the middle Pliocene of eastern and southern Africa, spreading from there into the Middle East by the later Pliocene (Coppens et al. 1978). The genus remained widespread in the Old World until it became extinct in Africa and Europe in the late Pleistocene.

Characters (from Coppens et al. 1978): Skull high, forehead fore-shortened. Premaxillary tusk sockets generally widely separated, tusks usually gently curved in a single plane. Frontoparietal surface flat to concave; upper borders of the temporal fossae forming sharp, raised ridges. Mandible corpus strongly convex laterally, condyles transversely elongated and directed upward and inward.

<==Elephas Linnaeus 1758 [incl. Omoloxodon Deraniyagala 1955, Palaeoloxodon Matsumoto 1929, Pilgrimia Osborn 1924] CM78
    |--E. ekorensis Maglio 1970 CM78
    |--+--E. iolensis Pomel 1895 (see below for synonymy) CM78
    |  |--E. recki Dietrich 1916 (see below for synonymy) CM78
    |  `--+--E. falconeri CM78
    |     `--E. namadicus CM78 [=Paleoloxodon namadicus DW04]
    `--+--+--E. celebensis CM78
       |  `--+--E. planifrons [=Archidiskodon planifrons] CM78
       |     `--E. platycephalus CM78
       `--+--E. hysudricus CM78
          `--+--*E. maximus Linnaeus 1758 CM78
             |    |--E. m. maximus B84
             |    |--E. m. bengalensis B84
             |    |--E. m. hirsutus B84
             |    `--E. m. sumatrensis B84
             `--E. hysudrindicus CM78

Elephas iolensis Pomel 1895 [incl. Pilgrimia archidiskodontoides Haughton 1932, Archidiskodon broomi Osborn 1928, A. hanekomi Dart 1929, Palaeoloxodon kuhni Dart 1929, A. sheppardi Dart 1927, Pilgrimia subantiqua Haughton 1932, A. transvaalensis Dart 1927, Pi. wilmani Dart 1920, Pi. yorki Dart 1929] CM78

Elephas recki Dietrich 1916 [=E. (Archidiskodon) recki, Loxodonta (Pilgrimia) antiqua recki, *Omoloxodon recki; incl. Archidiskodon exoptatus Dietrich 1942, E. exoptatus] CM78

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B84] Barnes, R. F. W. 1984. Elephants. In All the World’s Animals: Hoofed Mammals (D. Macdonald, ed.) pp. 12-21. Torstar Books: New York.

[CM78] Coppens, Y., V. J. Maglio, C. T. Madden & M. Beden. 1978. Proboscidea. In Evolution of African Mammals (V. J. Maglio & H. B. S. Cooke, eds) pp. 336-367. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[DW04] Deng T., Wang X., Ni X. & Liu L. 2004. Sequence of the Cenozoic mammalian faunas of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 78 (1): 8-14.

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