The LoxodontaThe Loxodonta (meaning slanted toothed ones because of their lonzenge-shaped grinding teeth) emerged about five million years ago during the Pliocene era. It produced two species, the African bush elephant, Loxodonta africana africana, and the African forest elephant, Loxodonta Africana cyclotis.
The bush elephant is the largest living land animal today. It has a huge head on a short neck with very large, fan-like ears. Its trunk is very long and muscular.
The Elephas MaximusThe Elephas maximus, the Asian elephant, originated in Africa about 6 to 5 million years ago during the Pliocene epoch. It is an endangered species that once roamed most of Asia from Iraq to the Yangtze River in China, across India and Southeast Asia, to Sri Lanka and Sumatra in Indonesia. Now its range is only about 5% of what it used to be. It is one of the largest terrestrial organisms. It has gray skin and sparse hair in adults and thicker brown hair in calves.
Wooly MammothsThe Mammuthus lived from 5 million years to 11,500 years ago, or from the Pliocene to the Pliestocene epochs. Over a dozen species of mammoth lived across North America and Eurasia. The most widespread, the Wooly Mammoth, lived during the Ice Age. It was as big as the African bush elephant and had tusks that were 15 feet long. A dwarf species outlasted the Wooly Mammoth, surviving until 7,000 years ago. A lot is known about mammoths because of those found frozen in ice.
StegodonThe Stegodon lived about 5 million to 10,000 years ago during the late Pliocene to the Pliestocene epochs alongside the Mastadon. It was four meters tall and eight meters long and also had three-meter tusks, which curved upward at the bottom. The tusks sometimes grew closely together that some Stegodons carried their trunks sideways over the tusks. It was a capable swimmer and colonized islands throughout Asia from the Philippines to Japan.
Mammut or MastodonThe Mammut or Mastodon existed about 5 million to 10,000 years ago during the late Pliocene to the Pliestocene epochs. Appearing first in Africa, it had shaggy hair and lived in small family groups. It ate leaves on low-lying branches. The males had enormous tusks.
The DinotheriumThe Dinotherium (meaning terrible beast) lived 10 million to 10,000 years ago during the mid-Miocene era and to Pleistocene era when it went extinct. It was not a direct ancestor of the elephant. It had downward curving tusks coming out of its chin.
PrimeelephasThe Primeelephas (meaning the first elephant) lived about 5 million years ago during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs in the woodlands of Africa. It was a herbivore and looked like our modern day elephant. It had four tusks, two in the upper and two in the lower jaws. From it came the lineages of the Loxodonta, Elephas and Mammuthus. It was the last common ancestor of the Asian and African elephants.
The GomphotheriumThe Gomphotherium existed about 15 to 5 million years ago during the Miocene to the early Pliocene epochs. It was slightly bigger than the Paleomastodon, had a longer trunk and had four tusks — two on the bottom curved up like a shovel and two on the top that were straight. Like the Meoritherium, it was a side branch that went extinct.
The MeoritheriumThe Meoritherium existed 37 to 35 million years ago during the Oligocene epoch. It was a relative of the Paleomastodon, but was not a direct ancestor of the elephant. It belonged to a side branch that went extinct. It looked more like a tapir or pygmy hippopatoamus.
PaleomastodonThe Paleomastodon walked the earth 37 to 35 million years ago during the late Eocene to early Oligocene epochs. It is regarded as an ancestor of the elephant and was close to it in size. It weighed two tons and was about 12 feet long. It had upper and lower tusks and a trunk and was a herbivore.
Eritherium AzzouzoriumThe Eritherium Azzouzorium lived about 60 million years ago during the Paleocene epoch. It was an elephant-like animal, about two feet tall with big legs, but no trunk. It is the smallest and oldest-known possible ancestor of the elephant. A fossil of its skull was found recently in Morocco by French paleontologist Emmanuel Gherbrant, for the Museum of Natural History in Paris.
Period:-11 BCEto-11 BCE
Period:-1 BCEto-1 BCE