It appears that elephants as we know them have been around for 5 million years. There were at one time 350 different kinds of elephants living on all continents save Antarctica and Austraila. Today, only two kinds of elephants remain, the Asian elephant and the African elephant.
It is roughly estimated that elephants have been present on Earth for over 55 million years. During this time a variety of 300 differing species are believed to have existed. Both the Mastodon and the Mammoth, the earliest of ancestors, are believed to have become extinct during the ice age. Another, the Moeritherium, is believed to link back to the elephants of our time.
Elephants, of the Proboscidea order, have existed in one form or another for over 50 million years. Since that time, there have been over 350 species of Proboscidea but only three exist today: Asian, African savanna, and African forest elephants. Moeritherium is the earliest known ancestor of the elephant. About the size of a pig, these animals’ fossils were found in Egypt and showed the beginnings of long incissors, or tusks.
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