Palaeoloxodon falconeri

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Palaeoloxodon falconeri
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene to Holocene
Elephas skeleton.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Palaeoloxodon
Species: P. falconeri
Binomial name
Palaeoloxodon falconeri
Busk, 1867

Palaeoloxodon falconeri (also known as Elephas falconeri, or more commonly as the Pygmy Elephant) is an extinct Siculo-Maltese species of elephant closely related to the modern Asian elephant. In 1867, George Busk had proposed the species Elephas falconeri for many of the smallest molars selected from the material originally ascribed by Hugh Falconer to Palaeoloxodon melitensis.[1][2] This island-bound elephant was an example of insular dwarfism, reaching only 90 cm (3 ft) in height. P. falconeri's ancestors most likely reached the Mediterranean islands during the ice age when the sea levels were lower, allowing a land bridge from the mainland.[a]

Mythology[edit]

The belief in Cyclopes may be originated in P, falconeri skulls found in Sicily.[4] As early as the 14th century, scholars had noted that the nasal cavity could be mistaken for a singular giant eye socket.[5]

Gallery[edit]

Palaeoloxodon falconeri 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ During the peak of the last ice age, (about 18,000 years ago) the mean Sea Level was 110 meters below the present level.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Busk, G. (1867). Description of the remains of three extinct species of elephant, collected by Capt. Spratt, C.B.R.N., in the ossiferous cavern of Zebbug, in the island of Malta. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, 6: 227–306.
  2. ^ Palombo, M.R. (2001). Endemic elephants of the Mediterranean Islands: knowledge, problems and perspectives. The World of Elephants, Proceedings of the 1st International Congress (October 16–20 2001, Rome): 486–491.
  3. ^ "GLOBE: A Gallery of High Resolution Images". National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). NOAA. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Cyclops" (Mobile). Greek and Roman Mythology. Boston: MobileReference.com. 2007. ISBN 9781605010915. 
  5. ^ "Greek Giants". American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 15 June 2014.