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Temporal range: late Palaeocene – Recent
African Elephant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Afrotheria
Order: Proboscidea
Illiger, 1811

Proboscidea is an order containing only one familiy of living animals, Elephantidae, the elephants, with three living species (African Forest Elephant, African Bush Elephant, and Asian Elephant).[1]

During the period of the last ice age there were more, now extinct species, including a number of species of the elephant-like mammoths and mastodons.

The oldest proboscidean dates from the early Palaeogene period, over 50 million years ago. The evolution of the elephant-like animals mainly concerned the proportions of the cranium and jaw and the shape of the tusks and molar teeth.


Present-day elephants are the survivors of a once larger and more varied family.


  1. ↑ Shoshani, Jeheskel; Wilson, Don E. and Reeder, DeeAnn M. (eds) 2005. Mammal species of the world. 3rd ed, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols, pp. 90-91. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0