Temporal range: Late Pleistocene to Holocene
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. 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 it was found on during lowered sea levels of the ice age.[clarification needed]
The belief in Cyclopes may be originated in P, falconeri skulls found in Sicily. If one does not know what an elephant looks like, the place where the trunk is placed on the skull can be mistaken for a giant eyesocket.[original research?]
- 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.
- 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.
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