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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
Linnaeus, 1758
  • 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, Elephas antiquus and the dwarf elephants E. falconeri and E. cypriotes. The genus is very closely related to the mammoth genus, Mammuthus.[2]

According to a study by Saki Yasui and Gen’ichi Idani titled “Social significance of trunk use in captive Asian elephants”, a group of female elephants in Thailand were observed to determine if the way in which they use their trunks to touch other elephants was related to the social relationships they developed. Yasui and Idani concluded that there is in fact a significance amongst the two variables (Yasui and Idani). [9]


Elephas is assigned to the proboscidean family Elephantidae and comprises one living and 7 extinct species:[3]


  1. ^ a b Shoshani, J. (2005). "Order Proboscidea". 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.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Von Königswald, G.H.R. (1956). Fossil mammals from the Philippines. National Research Council of the Philippines, Manila
  6. ^ Hooijer, D.A. (1949). Pleistocene Vertebrates from Celebes. IV. - Archidiskodon celebensis nov spec.. Zoologische Mededelingen Museum Leiden, 30 (14): 205–226.
  7. ^ Falconer, H. Cautley, P. T. (1846). Fauna Antiqua Sivalensis, Being the Fossil Zoology of the Sewalik Hills. Smith, Elder & Company, London. Pp. 64.
  8. ^ Hooijer, D. A. (1955). Fossil Proboscidea from the Malay Archipelago and the Punjab. Zoologische Verhandelingen, 28 (1): 1–146.

9. Saki Yasui & Gen’ichi Idani (2017) Social significance of trunk use in captive Asian elephants, Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 29:4, 330-350, DOI: 10.1080/03949370.2016.1179684