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Temporal range: Pliocene to present
Elephas maximus.jpg
Asian elephant
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Tribe: Elephantini
Genus: Elephas
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Elephas maximus

8; see text



Elephas is one of two surviving genera in the family of elephants, Elephantidae, with one surviving species, the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus.[1]

Several extinct species have been identified as belonging to the genus, including Elephas recki, straight-tusked elephant E. antiquus and the dwarf elephants E. falconeri and E. cypriotes. The genus is very closely related to the genus Mammuthus.[2]


The scientific name Elephas was proposed by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 who described the genus and an elephant from Ceylon.[3] The genus is assigned to the proboscidean family Elephantidae and is made up of one living and seven extinct species:[4]

The following Asian elephants were proposed as extinct subspecies, but are now considered synonymous with the Indian elephant:[1]

The following Elephas species are extinct:


  1. ^ a b c Shoshani, J. (2005). "Genus Elephas". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Fleischer, R. C.; Perry, E. A.; Muralidharan, K.; Stevens, E. E. & Wemmer, C. M. (2001). "Phylogeography of the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) based on mitochondrial DNA" (PDF). Evolution. 55 (9): 1882–1892. doi:10.1111/j.0014-3820.2001.tb00837.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-17.
  3. ^ Linnaei, C. (1760). "Elephas maximus". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Halae Magdeburgicae: Ioannes Ioachimus Langius. p. 33.
  4. ^ a b Maglio, V.J. (1973). "Origin and evolution of the Elephantidae". Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia Volume 63. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, pp. 149
  5. ^ Fernando, P., Vidya, T.N.C., Payne, J., Stuewe, M., Davison, G., et al. (2003). DNA Analysis Indicates That Asian Elephants Are Native to Borneo and Are Therefore a High Priority for Conservation. PLoS Biol 1 (#1): e6
  6. ^ Von Königswald, G.H.R. (1956). Fossil mammals from the Philippines. National Research Council of the Philippines, Manila
  7. ^ Hooijer, D.A. (1949). Pleistocene Vertebrates from Celebes. IV. - Archidiskodon celebensis nov spec.. Zoologische Mededelingen Museum Leiden, 30 (#14): 205–226.
  8. ^ Falconer, H. & Cautley, P. T. (1846). Fauna Antiqua Sivalensis, Being the Fossil Zoology of the Sewalik Hills. Smith, Elder & Company, London, pp. 64.
  9. ^ Hooijer, D. A. (1955). Fossil Proboscidea from the Malay Archipelago and the Punjab. Zoologische Verhandelingen, 28 (#1): 1–146.