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Family within the order Proboscidea, named by Gray 1821.

The family of elephants developed during middle Miocene (16 million years ago) with its ancestor Primelephas. The first mammoths (genus Mammuthus) appeared about 3 million years ago in africa. 120 000 years ago they started to migrate to northern europe, and adapt to colder climate, while in africa, the mammoths developed into the genus elephas, which spread also to asia and europe, among others the "Forest elephant" Elephas antiquus.

Taxonomy (the surviving recent elephants)

Up until now, the presently living elephants have been divided into two species: Asian and African. The DNA evidence, reported in the August 24, 2004 issue of the journal Science, provides a definitive answer to the long-debated controversy.T he finding has implications for both international law and conservation strategies. Recent DNA tests have shown that the forest elephant is not a subspecies of the African elephant but a true species.
(See links [1], [2])

Future taxonomy (?):

The family elephantidae



Distribution of the present elephants