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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, extending back to the Pliocene era. While formerly assigned to this genus, Elephas recki, the straight-tusked elephant E. antiquus and the dwarf elephants E. falconeri and E. cypriotes are now placed in the separate genus Palaeoloxodon. 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". Evolution. 55 (9): 1882–1892. doi:10.1111/j.0014-3820.2001.tb00837.x. PMID 11681743.
  3. ^ Linnaei, C. (1760). "Elephas maximus". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Vol. 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.