African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sebas pickled elephant at Africa unspecified location

 ☨ ♂ Sebas pickled elephant  
Sebas pickled elephant displayed as taxidermy specimen.
Sebas pickled elephant as taxidermy specimen.
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Taxidermy locationSwedish Museum of Natural History (NRM), Stockholm, Sweden


Museum accession number NRM 532062


Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Male ♂ < 1, unknown age
Born:* <1753 wild
Birth place:
Dead: <1753
Death location: Africa unspecified location,
Death reason: Fetal death in utero: removed from dead mothers uterus?
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Africa unspecified location, in Africa unspecified country

Date of arrival

Africa unspecified location
Record history
History of updates2021-07-04: corrected previous museum collections

Latest document update2021-07-04 19:40:04
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Relevant literature

† Sebas pickled elephant is a dead Male ♂ African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), , who died at Africa unspecified location, in Africa unspecified country, from Fetal death in utero <1753. Official death reason described as removed from dead mothers uterus?.

The Taxidermy remains of this animal is within the Taxidermy collection at Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM), in Stockholm, Sweden.

See also a more detailed list with the elephants arrival dates etc.


Sebas pickled elephant was born wild <1753.

Comments / pictures

Carl Linnaeus could hardly contain his excitement over his latest acquisition. “I am pleased that the little elephant has arrived. If he costs a lot, he was worth it. Certainly, he is as rare as a diamond,” the founding father of modern taxonomy wrote in a letter to a friend on 18 May 1753. Linnaeus dubbed the species Elephas maximus, which is now commonly known as the Asian elephant, and listed the elephant’s origin, or locality, as Zeylonae paludosis, or Ceylon, the island now called Sri Lanka. Whether or not Linnaeus knew its origin, his pickled pachyderm was cemented as the archetype for the Asian elephant.

Beginning in the 1800s, after the fetus was moved from the royal palace outside Stockholm to the building that became the Swedish Natural History Museum, curators there began to wonder whether their prized holding was mislabelled.

Later researchers enlisted Tom Gilbert to identify the species, an ancient-DNA expert at the University of Copenhagen, but he failed, even using what was then the world’s most advanced DNA sequencing technology.

Enrico Cappellini, a protein chemist, From a bit of oesophagus, Cappellini and Gilbert detected one protein that differed, by a single amino acid, between the two species. The protein was a portion of the haemoglobin complex that carries oxygen in red blood cells. In Asian elephants, the amino acid is aspartate, whereas in African elephants it is glutamate. Cappellini’s tests confirmed that Linnaeus’s elephant encoded glutamate. Mystery solved: the fetus that Linnaeus had taken as the archetype of the Asian elephant was, in fact, an African elephant.

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2013-11-04Linnaeus's asian elephant was wrong species - Elephant News

Reference listKoehl, Dan, (2021). Sebas pickled elephant, African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) located at Africa unspecified location in Africa unspecified country. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 16 September 2021 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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2013-11-04Linnaeus's asian elephant was wrong species - Elephant News

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  • Categories<175 deaths | Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM) Taxidermy | <175 births | Born in Unknown | Elephants from Africa unspecified location | Africa unspecified country | African savanna elephants

    This document was updated: 2021-07-04 19:40:04

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