† Hansken is a dead Female ♀ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), , who died 1655-11-09 at Cornelis Jacobs van Groenevelt, in Netherlands, .
Hansken was born wild 1630 at Sri Lanka unspecified location. and imported 1633 by Dutch East India Company, Ship from Ceylon
Hansken was a female elephant that became famous in early 17th century Europe. For many years a certain Cornelis Jacobs van Groenevelt criss-crossed Europe with the celebrated elephant. She toured many countries, demonstrating circus tricks, and was sketched by Rembrandt and Stefano della Bella.
Hansken was born in what was then Ceylon and was brought to Holland in 1637. Her name is a Dutch diminutive form of the Malayalam word aana, meaning "elephant". Rembrandt saw her in Amsterdam in 1637, and made four sketches of her in chalk.
Hansken toured fairs in the Netherlands and Germany. She appeared in Hamburg in 1638, in Bremen and Copenhagen in 1640, in Rotterdam in 1641, in Frankfurt in 1646 and 1647, and in Luneburg in 1650. She was probably in Leipzig in 1649 and 1651.
In the 17th century, it was believed that elephants had very advanced intellectual abilities. Following Pliny, it was thought that the elephant was the nearest to man in intelligence, and that elephants could understand speech, follow orders, and had a sense of religion and conscience. Pliny even reports that an elephant had learned to write words in the Greek alphabet. Hansken did not live up to these expectations, but she could wave a flag, fire a pistol, strike a drum, hold out her front feet, pinch money from pockets, put on a hat, carry a bucket of water, and pick up coins from the ground.
In July 1651, Hansken travelled to Zurich, Solothurn, Bregenz and St. Gallen, and on to Rome. She visited Florence, where she was drawn by artist Stefano della Bella. He also drew her corpse after her death on 9 November 1655.
Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, bought the dead elephant from Van Groenevelt for his collection.
2013: it was scientifically determined that Hansken is the lectotype of the Asian elephant species, Elephas maximus. A lectotype is the earliest described specimen of a Species
that serves as the type specimen. Later researchers can always return to the described and preserved example. Carl Linnaeus classified the Species
into classes. He based his description of the elephant in 1758 on older descriptions, including that of John Ray. An international team of scientists has concluded that Ray's description relates to the Skeleton
that is now kept in the Specula in Florence, reaffirming that this is the same elephant known as Hansken-
(The name Hansken is already submitted into the link, just click on the link for relevant results)