|Asian straight-tusked elephant
Temporal range: Pleistocene
|Species:||† P. namadicus|
Falconer & Cautley, 1846
Palaeoloxodon namadicus or the Asian straight-tusked elephant, was a species of prehistoric elephant that ranged throughout Pleistocene Asia, from India (where it was first discovered) to Japan, where the indigenous Neolithic cultures hunted that particular subspecies for food. It is a descendant of the straight-tusked elephant.
Some authorities regard it to be a subspecies of Palaeoloxodon antiquus, the straight-tusked elephant, due to extreme similarities of the tusks. Their skull structure was also different from that of a modern elephant.
Several studies have attempted to estimate the size of the Asian straight-tusked elephants, as well as other prehistoric proboscideans, usually using comparisons of thigh bone length and knowledge of relative growth rates to estimate the size of incomplete skeletons.
One partial skeleton found in India in 1905 had thigh bones that likely measured 160 centimetres (5.2 ft) when complete, suggesting a total shoulder height of 4.3 metres (14 ft) and weight of 14 tonnes (14 long tons; 15 short tons) for this individual elephant.
Two partial thigh bones were found in the 19th century and would have measured 155 cm (5.1 ft) when complete. A fragment from the same locality was said to be almost a quarter larger; volumetric analysis then yields a size estimate of 5 metres (16 ft) tall at the shoulders and 22 tonnes (24 short tons) in weight. This makes P. namadicus the largest land mammal of all time, surpassing the largest indricotheres and up to twice the size of the well-known dinosaur Diplodocus carnegii. (units:tonnes = 1000 kilograms, long ton= 2,240 pounds, short ton=2000 pounds)
- Larramendi, A. (2015). "Shoulder height, body mass and shape of proboscideans" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 60. doi:10.4202/app.00136.2014.
- Switek, Brian. "The Largest Beasts to Walk the Earth". Retrieved 2015-07-18.
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