Linzey, Donald W. Wytheville Community College, Wytheville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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- Characteristics and description
- Differences between African and Indian elephants
- Reproduction and development
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An order of placental mammals containing the largest and most powerful living terrestrial mammals—the elephants. Proboscideans once had a wide distribution, reaching every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Although early forms lacked both significant tusks and a proboscis, they are still formally considered proboscideans. Today, there are three extant species of elephants. Two of the living species [Loxodonta africana, the African bush elephant (Fig. 1); and L. cyclotis, the African forest elephant] are native to Africa, whereas the other (Elephas maximus, the Indian elephant) inhabits Southeast Asia. See also: Elephant; Elephant phylogeny; Mammalia
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