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Breed(African elephant-Asian elephant hybrid)
Born(1978-07-11)11 July 1978
Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England
Died21 July 1978 (aged 10 days)
Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England
Parent(s)Jumbolino (father)
Sheba (mother)
Named afterGeorge Mottershead

Motty (11 July – 21 July 1978) was the only proven hybrid between an Asian and an African elephant. The male calf was born in Chester Zoo, to Asian mother Sheba and African father Jumbolino.[1] He was named after George Mottershead, who founded the Chester Zoo in 1931.


Motty's head and ears were morphologically like Loxodonta (African), while the toenail numbers, with five on the front feet and four on the hind were that of Elephas (Asian). The trunk had a single trunk finger as seen in Elephas but the trunk length was more similar to Loxodonta. His vertebral column showed an Loxodonta profile above the shoulders transitioning to the convex hump profile of Elephas below the shoulders.[2]

Cause of death[edit]

Due to being born six weeks early, Motty was considered underweight by 27 kg (60 lb). Despite intensive human care, Motty died of an umbilical infection[3] 10 days after his birth on 21 July. The necropsy revealed death to be due to necrotizing enterocolitis and E. coli septicaemia present in both his colon and the umbilical cord.[2]


His body was preserved by a private company, and is a mounted specimen at the Natural History Museum in London.[4]

Other hybrids[edit]

The straight-tusked elephant, an extinct elephant whose closest extant relative is the African forest elephant, interbred with the Asian elephant, as recovered DNA has shown.[5]

Afro-Asian Elephant hybrid
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Subfamily: Elephantinae
Hybrid: Loxodonta africana♂ × Elephas maximus

Although the Asian elephant Elephas maximus and the African elephant Loxodonta africana belong to different genera, they share the same number of chromosomes, thus making hybridisation possible.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Motty, an asian elephant x african bush elephant (cross-breed) at Chester Zoo". Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b Rees, P. A. (2021). Elephants Under Human Care: The Behaviour, Ecology, and Welfare of Elephants in Captivity. London: Academic Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-12816208-8.
  3. ^ "Motty the elephant crossbreed". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  4. ^ Yang, H.; Golenberg, E. M.; Shoshani, J. (1997). "Proboscidean DNA from museum and fossil specimens: an assessment of ancient DNA extraction and amplification techniques". Biochemical Genetics. 35 (5): 165–179. doi:10.1023/A:1021902125382. hdl:2027.42/44162. PMID 9332711. S2CID 2144662.
  5. ^ Callaway, E. (16 September 2016). "Elephant history rewritten by ancient genomes". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20622. S2CID 89500906.

External links[edit]