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The African savanna elephant

25 August 2015

 

www.leopard.tvSome 182 types of elephant and 44 genera are known to have existed at some time, but only the Asiatic elephant Elephas maximus, African forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis and African savanna elephant Loxodonta africana have survived. However, based on some preliminary, but inconclusive, genetic studies it is being speculated that a fourth type of elephant may also occur in the deep forests of Africa and that it developed from the ancient gene pool which also gave rise to the living Asiatic and African elephants. The African savanna elephant developed some 1,5 million years ago in Africa. It was first described scientifically by Blumenbach in 1797 as Elephas africanus based on a molar tooth that was found near the Orange River in South Africa. The name Loxodonta was created by an unknown scientist in 1827 and was derived from the ancient Greek words loxós for oblique (bent) and odont for tooth, while africana refers to Africa. In 1798 a Cape elephant was described as Elephas capensis by Cuvier but this differentiation is no longer valid... (Become a subscriber for more)

 


References:

Du Toit, J G 2015. The African savanna elephant. In J du P Bothma & J G du Toit (Eds), Game ranch management, sixth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik, in press

Skinner, J D & Chimimba, C T (Eds) 2005. Mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 51 - 59.

 

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

 

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