Temporal range: Miocene - Pliocene
Primelephas is a genus of Elephantinae that existed during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs. The name of the genus suggests 'first elephant'. These primitive elephantids are hypothesised to be the common ancestor of Mammuthus, the mammoths, and the closely allied genera Elephas and Loxodonta, the African and Eurasian elephants, diverging some four to six million years ago. It had four tusks, which is unusual for an elephant. The type species, Primelephas gomphotheroides, was described by Vincent Maglio in 1970, the specific epithet indicating the fossil specimens were gomphothere-like. Primelephas korotorensis is the only other species to be assigned to the genus.
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- Shoshani, J.; Ferretti, M. P.; Lister, A. M.; Agenbroad, L. D.; Saegusa, H.; Mol, D.; Takahashi, K. (2007). "Relationships within the Elephantinae using hyoid characters". Quaternary International. 169-170: 174. Bibcode:2007QuInt.169..174S. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2007.02.003.
- Thomas MG, Hagelberg E, Jone HB, Yang Z, Lister AM (December 2000). "Molecular and morphological evidence on the phylogeny of the Elephantidae". Proc. Biol. Sci. 267 (1461): 2493–500. doi:10.1098/rspb.2000.1310. PMC . PMID 11197124.
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