Comparison - African and Asian Elephant


Primelephas, the proboscidean ancestor, as the name indicates is believed to be the immediate ancestor of the three genera i.e., mammoths and the present day African and Asian elephants. Primelephas evolved in central and east Africa and had long developed trunk and large straight tusks from the upper jaw.

Mammoth originated in Africa and spread through Eurasia and North America. Woolly mammoths with long hair and thick fat layer for insulation were abundant in Tundra regions. They became extinct around 12,000 years ago. Some of the more huge creatures of mammoths measured more than 4 metres at shoulder while some others were smaller with a height of only 2 metres. They had huge tusks characteristic of these giants. Seven species of mammoths populated the world, the largest was Mammuthus imperator, about 4.26 metres tall. Mammoths had large rootless tusks about 4 m long, which grew out of the skull and continued to grow through out the mammoth’s life. The tusks of mammoths are still retrieved from permafrost of Siberia and available in the market as ivory.

 
Comparison - African and Asian Elephant:



 

 

Character

African Savanna Elephant
(Loxodonta africana)
Asian Elephant
(Elephas maximus)

Size

LargeSmaller

Colour

DarkLighter

Skin

WrinkledLess wrinkled

Ears

LargeSmaller

Back

Curved down in the middleRounded back

Fore head

Sloping forwardThree prominent bumps on the forehead

Legs

Small nails, three on each hind foot and total number of nails is 14-16Large nails, usually four on each hind foot and total number of nails is 16-20; usually 18 (fore 5x2=10; hind 4x2=8)

Tusks

Large and present in both sexesSmaller and not present in cows and makhnas

Trunk

Two finger like extensions at the tipThicker and only one finger like extension at the tip

Teeth

Lamellae coarse and few in number and lozenge shapedLamellae smooth compared to African elephants and more in number

Ribs and Vertebrae

20-21 pairs of ribs and a maximum of 26 caudal vertebrae19-20 pairs of ribs and 33 caudal vertebrae

Highest point on the body

ShoulderTop of the head

Height at Shoulder (cm)


Bull

280-400 (240-280*)
240-300

Cow

240-300 (210-240*)
210-240

Weight (kg)


Bull

4,000-6,000 (2,800-3,200*)
4,500-5,500

Cow

2,400-3,500 (1,800-2,500*)
2,750-4,000

Length (head & body) (cm)


Bull

500-650 (400-450*)
550-640

Cow

450-600 (350-400*)
500-550

 * African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis)