Straight-tusked elephant

Palaeoloxodon (Elephas) antiquus

Straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus)
Straight-tusked elephant. Skeleton of an Elephas antiquus in the Museo paleontologico of the university Sapienzia, Rome

The straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus, also referred to as Elephas antiquus) is an extinct species of elephant belonging to the genus Palaeoloxodon which inhabited Europe and Western Asia during the Middle and Late Pleistocene (781,000–30,000 years before present).

Palaeoloxodon (Elephas) antiquus was quite large,, recovered individuals have reached up to 4–4.2 metres (13.1–13.8 ft) in height, and an estimated 11.3–15 tonnes (11.1–14.8 long tons; 12.5–16.5 short tons) in weight. Like other members of Paleoloxodon, P. antiquus possesses a well developed parieto-occipital crest (POC) at the top of the cranium, for anchoring the splenius as well as possibly the rhomboid muscles to support the large head, the largest proportionally and in absolute size among proboscideans. Two morphs of P. antiquus in Europe were previously suggested to exist in Europe based on POC variation, one more similar to P. namadicus, but these were shown to be the result of ontogenetic variation and taphonomic distortion

The straight-tusked elephant probably lived in small herds, flourishing in interglacial periods, when its range would extend as far as Great Britain. Isolated tusks are often found while partial or whole skeletons are rare, and there is evidence of predation by early humans. It is the ancestral species of most dwarf elephants that inhabited islands in the Mediterranean.

The straight-tusked elephant, an extinct elephant whose closest extant relative is the African forest elephant, interbred with the Asian elephant, as recovered DNA has shown.(Callaway, Elephant history rewritten by ancient genomes)


5 Straight-tusked elephant in taxidermy collections

IndexNameSexOriginAgeBirthDeath dateArrivalPresent or last Location
1-Kolding elephant- ca 130.000 years ago (Eem)ca 130.000 years ago (Eem)1972-00-00Denmark Natural History Museum
2-Campo del Gallo elephant- 1941-00-00Giacomo Doria Natural History Museum
3-Chatham Elephant-M 1913-00-00London Natural History Museum
4-Grotte Santo Stefano elephant- Sapienza Museum of Paleontology
5-Ebbsfleet Elephant- ca 400,000-year agoca 400,000-year agoLondon Natural History Museum


Sources

  • The straight-tusked elephant on Wikipedia
  • Callaway, E. (2016-09-16), Nature, Elephant history rewritten by ancient genomes
  • Elephant Encyclopedia and database
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