African elephant

African elephant

name = African elephants

image_caption =
regnum = Animalia
phylum =

range_map_caption=Distribution of "Loxodonta africana" (2007)

African elephants are the species of elephants in the genus "Loxodonta", one of the two existing genera in Elephantidae. Although it is commonly believed that the genus was named by Georges Cuvier in 1825, Cuvier spelled it "Loxodonte". An anonymous author romanized the spelling to "Loxodonta" and the ICZN recognizes this as the proper authority.MSW3 Shoshani|pages=91]

Fossil "Loxodonta" have only been found in Africa, where they developed in the middle Pliocene.


African elephants are bigger than Asian elephants. Males stand 3.64 meters (12 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 5455 kg (12,000 lbs), while females stand 3 meters (10 ft) and weigh 3636 kg to 4545 kg (8,000 to 11,000 lbs). [] However, males can get as big as 15,000 lbs (6800 kg).


Elephants have four molars; each weighs about convert|11|lb|abbr=on and measures about 12 inches long. As the front pair wear down and drop out in pieces, the back pair shift forward and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.

Their tusks are teeth; the second set of incisors become the tusks. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off trees for food, for fighting each other during mating season, and for defending themselves against predators. The tusks weigh from 50-100 pounds and can be from 5 to convert|8|ft|m long. Unlike Asian elephants, both bulls and cows have tusks. [] . The enamel plates of the molars are lesser in number than in Asian elephants.cite book | author = Clutton-Brock, Juliet| title = A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals | year = 1987 | pages = pp.208 | id = ISBN 0521346975]


*"Loxodonta adaurora", extinct, presumed antecedent of the modern African elephants.
*African Bush Elephant ("Loxodonta africana").
*African Forest Elephant ("Loxodonta cyclotis").

Bush and Forest Elephants were formerly considered subspecies of the same species "Loxodonta africana". However, they are nowadays generally considered to be two distinct species . The African Forest Elephant has a longer and narrower mandible, rounder ears, a different number of toenails, straighter and downward tusks, and considerably smaller size. With regard to the number of toenails: the African Bush Elephant normally has 4 toenails on the front foot and 3 on the hind foot, the African Forest Elephant normally has 5 toenails on the front foot and 4 on the hind foot (like the Asian elephant), but hybrids between the two species commonly occur.


Poaching significantly reduced the population of "Loxodonta" in certain regions during the 20th century. An example of this poaching pressure is in the eastern region of Chad—elephant herds there were substantial as recently as 1970, with an estimated population of 400,000; however, by 2006 the number had dwindled to about 10,000. The African elephant nominally has governmental protection, but poaching is still a serious issue. [cite web | title = 100 Slaughtered Elephants Found in Africa | url = | author = Goudarzi, Sara | date = 2006-08-30 | accessdate = 2006-08-31 | work = [] ]

Human encroachment into or adjacent to natural areas where bush elephants occur has led to recent research into methods of safely driving groups of elephants away from humans, including the discovery that playback of the recorded sounds of angry honey bees are remarkably effective at prompting elephants to flee an area. [Lucy E. King, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Fritz Vollrath (2007) African elephants run from the sound of disturbed bees. "Current Biology" 17: R832-R833] Some elephant communities have grown so large, in Africa, that some communities have resorted to culling large amounts to help sustain the ecosystem. []



External links

* [ Elephant Information Repository] - An in-depth resource on elephants
* [ "Elephant caves" of Mt Elgon National Park]
* [ ElephantVoices] - Resource on elephant vocal communications
* [ Amboseli Trust for Elephants] - Interactive web site
* David Quammen: " Family ties - The elephants of Samburu" National Geographic Magazine September 2008 [ link]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • African elephant — n. see ELEPHANT * * * …   Universalium

  • African elephant — n. see ELEPHANT …   English World dictionary

  • African elephant — afrikinis dramblys statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Loxodonta africana angl. African elephant vok. afrikanischer Elefant rus. африканский слон pranc. éléphant d’Afrique ryšiai: platesnis terminas –… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • African elephant — noun Either of two species of elephant, Loxodonta africana or Loxodonta cyclotis, found in Africa. See Also: elephant …   Wiktionary

  • African elephant — noun an elephant native to Africa having enormous flapping ears and ivory tusks • Syn: ↑Loxodonta africana • Hypernyms: ↑elephant • Member Holonyms: ↑Loxodonta, ↑genus Loxodonta …   Useful english dictionary

  • African elephant — noun Date: 1607 elephant 1a …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • African elephant. — See under elephant (def. 1). [1945 50] * * * …   Universalium

  • African elephant — /ˈæfrɪkən ɛləfənt/ (say afrikuhn eluhfuhnt) noun See elephant (def. 1) …   Australian-English dictionary

  • African elephant. — See under elephant (def. 1). [1945 50] …   Useful english dictionary

  • North African Elephant — Roman mosaic at Ostia Antica, Italy Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

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