Elephant Evolution






I the author consulted many sources in books and online to try to develope a picture of how elephants evolved, assuming that evolution theory is more or less true. My fundamental original guide is a chart in the book Elephants edited by Dr Jeheskel Shoshani of the Elephant Interest Group [ISBN 0-671-71174-1] containg work by many credentialed scholars.

Not every animal from the book is included and some are included from other sources. The book chart specifically identifies several evolutionary branches of ancestral proboscidians as unproven though widely accepted. Those are marked above with [**].

It should be recognized that the term 'ancestral proboscidians' refers to unknown and undocumented creatures which are assumed to have existed and evolved into various proboscidians which left fossil traces.

Ignore entirely in my chart are the sirenians [dugongs, manatees, etc] and hyraxes which evolutionists believe came down from common ancestors. Make of it what you will.

You can right-click and save the above chart to your hard drive or click this link and retrieve the full size chart which is 10 inches wide @ 300 dpi resolution .. almost a megabyte.

You can also scroll down the page and read a summary of what www.wikipedia.org offers on some of the animals listed on the chart. Their site has extensive information on some of them.




moeritherium Moeritherium


Moeritherium - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Late Eocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: †Moeritheriidae
Genus: †Moeritherium


Moeritherium fossils found in Egypt
Moeritherium ('the beast from Lake Moeris') is a genus consisting of several species. These prehistoric mammals are related to the elephant and, more distantly, the sea cow. They lived during the Eocene epoch.

The Moeritherium species were pig-like animals that lived about 37-35 million ybp. The Moeritherium resembled modern tapirs or pygmy hippopotamuses. It was smaller than modern elephants, standing only 70 cm high at the shoulder and was about 3 m long. It is believed to have wallowed in swamps and rivers, filling the ecological niche now filled by the hippopotamus. The shape of its teeth suggest that it ate soft water vegetation.

The shape of the skull suggests that Moeritherium did not possess an elephant-like trunk, although it is possible that it had a broad and flexible upper lip for grasping aquatic vegetation. The incisor teeth formed small tusks, although these would have looked more like the teeth of a hippo than a modern elephant.


Barytherium


Barytherium - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Late Eocene to Early Oligocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: †Barytheriidae [C.W. Andrews, 1906 ]
Genus: †Barytherium [C.W. Andrews, 1901 ]
Species [†B. grave C.W. Andrews, 1901 ]


Barytherium fossils found in Egypt & Libya
Barytherium is a genus of an extinct family (Barytheriidae) of primitive proboscidean that lived during the late Eocene and early Oligocene in North Africa. The Barytheriidae were the first large size proboscideans to appear in the fossil records and were characterized by a strong sexual dimorphism [citation needed].

The only known species within this family is Barytherium grave, found at the beginning of the 20th century in the Fayum, Egypt. More complete specimens have been found since then, at Dor el Talha Libya. In some respects, these animals would have looked similar to a modern Asian Elephant, but with a more slender build [citation needed]. The most visible difference, however, would have been the tusks [citation needed]. Barytherium had eight very short tusks, four each in the upper and lower jaws, which resembled those of a modern hippopotamus more than those of an elephant. The upper pairs were vertical, while the lower pairs projected forwards from the mouth horizontally. Together, these would have created a shearing action for cropping plants.


Numidotherium

Numidotherium - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Middle Eocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Numidotheriidae
Genus: Numidotherium [Jaeger, 1986 ]

Species
N. koholense Jaeger (in Mahboubi et al.), 1986
N. savagei Court, 1995


Numidotherium fossils found in Algeria
Numidotherium ("Numidia beast") is an extinct genus of early proboscidean discovered in 1984, that lived during the middle Eocene some 46 million years ago of North Africa, weight 200 kilograms.

The type species, N. koholense is known from an almost complete skeleton from the site of El Kohol, southern Algeria dating from the early/middle Eocene period. The animal had the size and the appearance of a modern tapir. Its appearance were [sic] more slender and more plantigrade than the elephants', its closest modern relative.

A new species, N. savagei has been discovered in 1995 in late Eocene deposits of Dor el Talha, Libya, together with another primitive proboscidean, Barytherium grave. N. savagei may be a synonym of N. koholense.


Deinotherium


Deinotherium - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Middle Miocene to Early Pleistocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Suborder: †Deinotheroidea
Family: †Deinotheriidae
Genus: †Deinotherium [Kaup, 1829 ]

Species
†Deinotherium bozasi (Arambourg, 1934)
†Deinotherium giganteum (Kaup, 1829)
†Deinotherium indicum (Falconer, 1845)

Deinotherium fossils found in several sites in Europe
Deinotherium ("terrible beast"), also called the Hoe tusker was a gigantic prehistoric relative of modern-day elephants that appeared in the Middle Miocene and continued until the Early Pleistocene. During that time it changed very little. In life it probably resembled modern elephants, except that its trunk was shorter, and it had downward curving tusks attached to the lower jaw.

Deinotherium is the third largest land mammal known to have existed; only Indricotherium and Mammuthus sungari were larger. Males were generally between 3.5 and 4.5 meters (12 and 15 feet) tall at the shoulders although large specimens may have been up to 5m (16ft). Their weight is estimated to have been between 5 and 10 tonnes (5.5 and 11 US Standard tons), with the largest males weighing in excess of 14 tonnes (15.4 US Standard tons). Deinotherium's range covered parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Adrienne Mayor, in The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology In Greek and Roman Times, has suggested that Deinothere fossils found in Greece helped generate myths of archaic giant beings. A tooth of a deinothere found on the island of Crete, in shallow marine sediments of the Miocene raises questions: was Crete connected to the mainland during that time, or did Deinotheres share the often underrated swimming abilities of modern elephants? [citation needed]


Platybelodon


Platybelodon - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Miocene Epoch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Gomphotheriidae
Genus: Platybelodon [Borissiak, 1928 ]

Species
P. barnumbrowni (Barbour, 1931)
P. danovi (Borissiak, 1928)
P. grangeri Osborn, 1929)
P. loomisi (Barbour, 1929)

Platybelodon range based on text.
No authoritative distribution map located.
Platybelodon ("flat-tusk") was a genus of large herbivorous mammal related to the elephant (order Proboscidea). It lived during the Miocene Epoch, about 15-4 million years ago, and ranged over Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Although it thrived during its time, it did not survive past the Miocene and is now extinct. Some have speculated that it became too specialized and was unable to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Platybelodon was previously believed to have fed in the swampy areas of grassy savannas using its teeth to shovel up aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation. However, wear patterns on the teeth suggest that it used its lower tusks to strip bark from trees. Platybelodon was very similar to the Amebelodon, another gomphothere species. Another possibility is that it used its shovel-tusks to dig for water in dry seasons


Palaeomastodon


Palaeomastodon - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Miocene Epoch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Afrotheria
Order: Proboscidea [Illiger, 1811 ]
Family: †Palaeomastodontidae
Genus: †Palaeomastodon

Palaeomastodon an extinct genus of Proboscidea. Palaeomastodon fossils have been found in Africa, lived some 36-35 million years ago. They are believed to be the ancestors of elephants or Mastodons. This genus is related to Moeritherium. Palaeomastodon had tusks, both upper and lower. It had a trunk. It was 1 to 2 meters tall and weighed up to 2 tonnes. The lower tusks were flat rather than pointed cones.


Mastodon


Mastodon - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Mammutidae [Hay, 1922 ]
Genus: Mammut [Blumenbach, 1799 ]
Species
Mammut americanum
Mammut borsoni

Mastodon range based on text.
No authoritative distribution map located.
Mastodons or Mastodonts (from Greek meaning "nipple tooth") are members of the extinct genus Mammut of the order Proboscidea and form the family Mammutidae; they resembled, but were distinct from, the woolly mammoth, which belongs to the family Elephantidae. Mastodons were browsers, while mammoths were grazers.

Mastodons are thought to have first appeared almost four million years ago. They were native to both Eurasia and North America but the Eurasian species Mammut borsoni died out approximately three million years ago - fossils having been found in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania[1] and northern Greece. Mammut americanum disappeared from North America about 10,000 years ago, at the same time as most other Pleistocene megafauna. It is known from fossils found ranging from present-day Alaska and New England in the north, to Florida, southern California, and as far south as Honduras.

Though their habitat spanned a large territory, mastodons were most common in the ice age spruce forests of the eastern United States, as well as in warmer lowland environments. Their remains have been found as far as 300 kilometers offshore of the northeastern United States, in areas that were dry land during the low sea level stand of the last ice age. Mastodon fossils have been found in South America; on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, USA (Manis Mastodon Site), in Kentucky (particularly noteworthy are early finds in what is now Big Bone Lick State Park); the Kimmswick Bone Bed in Missouri; in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, Canada; in Richland County, Wisconsin; La Grange, Texas; Southern Louisiana; and north of Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.


Gomphothere


Gomphothere - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Miocene - Pliocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Superfamily: Elephantoidea
Family: Gomphotheriidae [Hay, 1922 ]

Gomphothere range based on text.
No authoritative distribution map located.
The Gomphotheres are a diverse group of extinct elephant-like animals (proboscideans) that were widespread in North America during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, 12-1.6 million years ago. Some also lived in parts of Eurasia and Beringia, and following the Great American Interchange, in South America. From about 5 million years ago onwards, they were slowly replaced by modern elephants, but the last South American species did not finally become extinct until as recently as 400 CE.

Gomphothere remains are common at South American Paleo-indian sites. One example is the early human settlement at Monte Verde, Chile, dating to approximately 14,000 years ago.

Gomphotheres differed from elephants in their tooth structure, particularly the chewing surfaces on the molar teeth. Most had four tusks, and their retracted facial and nasal bones prompt paleontologists to believe that gomphotheres had elephant-like trunks. The early gomphotheres, such as Phiomia, had elongated upper and lower jaws, with relatively short tusks. Two lineages appear to have arisen from these ancestors. One, including animals such as Anancus, developed the short lower jaw typical of modern elephants, while the others, including Platybelodon, developed the lower jaw into an elongated 'shovel', and shortened the upper jaw.


Anancus


Anancus - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Late Miocene to Early Pleistocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Gomphotheriidae
Genus: Anancus

Species
A. alexeevae
A. arvernensis
A. cuneatus
A. perimensis
A. sinensis
A. sivalensis
A. osiris
A. petrocchii
A. kenyensis

Anancus is an extinct gomphothere genus of the order Proboscidea that lived in late Pliocene and early Pleistocene, 3-1.5 MYA.

The 2.5 m (8 ft) tall animal closely resembled a modern elephant and had two tusks, whereas other gomphotheres had four. Aside from its somewhat shorter legs, Anancus had one major difference compared to modern elephants: its tusks were much longer, up to 4 m (13 ft) long. The tusks were defence weapons. The molars were not composed of lamellae like those of true elephants, but had cusps, like tapir and pig molars; Anancus lived in forests, eating from trees and shrubs and digging out tubers and roots in the forest floor, and it died out when these forests gave way to grasslands. Although not as famous, Anancus was at least as big as its cousins the mammoths.


Cuvieronius


Cuvieronius - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Pliocene to holocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Gomphotheriidae
Genus: Cuvieronius [Osborn, 1923 ]

Species
C. hyodon
C. priestleyi
C. tropicus

Cuvieronius range based on text.
No authoritative distribution map located.
Cuvieronius is an extinct New World genus of gomphothere.

Cuvieronius is named after the French naturalist Georges Cuvier, stood 2.7m (9 ft) tall and looked like a modern elephant except for its spiral-shaped tusks. The creature initially evolved in North America, but was also one of the few proboscid mammals to colonize South America during the Great American Interchange (the only others being two species of the genus Stegomastodon, also gomphotheres), reaching there around 2 million years ago and traveling as far south as Argentina. Cuvieronius have been found in association with man, and pieces of its hide and muscle tissue have been found in Chile: “The site has also yielded 38 small pieces of animal hide and muscle tissue, some still preserved on bones of Cuvieronius. Pieces of hide also were recovered from hearth areas, living floors, and wooden structural remains. Some pieces were still attached to wooden poles, possible suggesting the presence of hide-draped huts. Pathological and other analyses of these pieces suggest that they are also of a Proboscidean.” South American fossiles formely attributed to Mastodon or Mammut are now believed to be Cuvieronius. The related Stegomastodon occupied warmer, lower-altitude habitats in S. America, while the smaller C. hyodon occupied cooler, higher-altitude Andean habitats. Cuvieronius was a mixed feeder, and has been dated at least as recently as 9,100 B.P. in South America.


Stegotetrabelodon


Stegotetrabelodon - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stegotetrabelodon is an extinct genus of elephant and gomphothere from the Miocene.


Mammoth


Mammoth - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Early Pliocene to Holocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Mammuthus [Brookes, 1828 ]

Species
Mammuthus africanavus African mammoth
Mammuthus columbi Columbian mammoth
Mammuthus exilis Pygmy mammoth
Mammuthus imperator Imperial mammoth
Mammuthus jeffersonii Jeffersonian mammoth
Mammuthus trogontherii Steppe mammoth
Mammuthus meridionalis Southern mammoth
Mammuthus subplanifrons South African mammoth
Mammuthus primigenius Woolly mammoth
Mammuthus lamarmorae Sardinian dwarf mammoth
Mammuthus sungari Songhua River mammoth

Mammoth range based on text.
No authoritative distribution map located.
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus. These proboscideans are members of the elephant family and close relatives of modern elephants. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair. They lived from the Pliocene epoch from 4.8 million years ago to around 4,500 years ago. The word mammoth comes from the Russian mamont, probably in turn from the Vogul (Mansi) language.

The woolly mammoth was the last species of the genus. Most populations of the woolly mammoth in North America and Eurasia died out at the end of the last Ice Age. Until recently, it was generally assumed that the last woolly mammoths vanished from Europe and Southern Siberia about 10,000 BC, but new findings show that some were still present here about 8,000 BC. Only slightly later, the woolly mammoths also disappeared from continental Northern Siberia. Wooly mammoths as well as Columbian mammoths disappeared from the North American continent at the end of the ice age. A small population survived on St. Paul Island, Alaska, up until 6000 BC, and the small mammoths of Wrangel Island became extinct only around 2000 BC.


African elephant
LOXODONTA


African elephant - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Early Pliocene to Holocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Loxodonta [Anonymous, 1827]

Species
Loxodonta adaurora, extinct, presumed antecedent of the modern African elephants.
African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis)

African elephants 2007 distribution
source wikimedia commons, GNU License, by Bamse.
African elephants are the species of elephants in the genus Loxodonta, one of the two existing genera in Elephantidae. Although it is commonly believed that the genus was named by Georges Cuvier in 1825, Cuvier spelled it Loxodonte. An anonymous author romanized the spelling to Loxodonta and the ICZN recognizes this as the proper authority. Fossil Loxodonta have only been found in Africa, where they developed in the middle Pliocene.

Size - African elephants are bigger than Asian elephants. Males stand 3.64 meters (12 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 5455 kg (12,000 lbs), while females stand 3 meters (10 ft) and weigh 3636 kg to 4545 kg (8,000 to 11,000 lbs). However, males can get as big as 15,000 lbs (6800 kg).

Teeth - Elephants have four molars; each weighs about 11 lb (5.0 kg) and measures about 12 inches long. As the front pair wear down and drop out in pieces, the back pair shift forward and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.

Their tusks are teeth; the second set of incisors become the tusks. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off trees for food, for fighting each other during mating season, and for defending themselves against predators. The tusks weigh from 50-100 pounds and can be from 5 to 8 feet (2.4 m) long. Unlike Asian elephants, both bulls and cows have tusks. The enamel plates of the molars are lesser in number than in Asian elephants.


Asian elephant
ELEPHAS


Elephas - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Elephas [Linnaeus, 1758 ]

Species
Extinct species
Elephas antiquus (Straight-tusked Elephant)
Elephas beyeri
Elephas celebensis
Elephas cypriotes (Cyprus Dwarf Elephant)
Elephas ekorensis
Elephas falconeri (Silician Dwarf Elephant)
Elephas iolensis
Elephas namadicus (Asian Straight-tusked Elephant)
Elephas planifrons
Elephas platycephalus
Elephas recki


Living species
Elephas maximus (Asian Elephant)

[sub species added by webmaster:]
Elephas Maximus Indicus [Indian elephant]
Elephas Maximus Sumatranus [Sumatran elephant]

Asian elephants 2007 distribution
source waza.org [World Assn of Zoos & Aquariums]
The genus has one surviving species, the Asian elephant (E. maximus), but ten extinct species have been identified as belonging to the genus, including E. recki, E. antiquus, and the dwarf elephants E. falconeri and E. cypriotes. The genus is very closely related to the mammoth genus Mammuthus.


"Elephants and their predecessors have been a significant presence on this planet for millions of years, with more than 260 forms of Proboscideans described from the fossil record."

Harry Peachey, Columbus Zoo
in JEMA (Journal of the Elephant Managers Association)
Vol 9 No 1, Jan-Apr 1998
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204


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