weblogUpdates.ping Taneak Jang, Rejang Land, Tanah Rejang http://rejang-lebong.blogspot.com Taneak Jang, Rejang land, Tanah Rejang: The Taxonomy of Elephants

The Taxonomy of Elephants


Asian Elephants

The Asian elepahnt, Elephas Maximus is found across 13 range countries on both the Asian mainland and a number of islands. Asian elephants differ from Africans in a number of ways.
The Asian elephant is divided into 4 sub species.
Elephas Maximus Indicus is sometimes mistakenly called the Indian elephant but as it is found across continental Asia as far as China and Vietnam it should be correctly termed, the Asian elephant. Asian elephants are smaller than Africans with noticeably smaller ears. Only some male elephants have tusks. Females sometimes has small tushes.
Elephas maximus maximus or the Sri Lankan elephant is the largest of the Asian elephants. However Sri Lankan bulls appear less predisposed to growing tusks. The energy saved not growing tusks may have contributed to a general increase in size. Elephas maximus maximus is only found on the island of Sri Lanka. More information about elephants in Sri Lanka Elephas maximus sumatranus or the Sumatran elephant is only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the second smallest of the Asian elephants. More information about elephants in Indonesia
Elephas maximus borneensis or the Borneo elephant was only classified as a separate sub species in 2003 after test revealed differences in the genetic make up from mainland elephants. The Borneo elephant is the smallest of the sub species and sometimes referred to as a pygmy elephant. These elephants are only found on the island of Borneo which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and the tiny Kingdom of Brunei.
Elephas maximus indicus
The Asian elephant inhabits forest habitat

The Taxonomy of Elephants

Elephant species

Zoological Classification

Elephant comes from the Greek word "elephas" meaning ivory. This, of course, refers to their tusks. In scientific nomenclature, elephants belong to the order Proboscidae. This word is also Greek referring to the other distinctive elephant anatomy, the trunk.

In understanding elephant evolution, I think we should first discuss zoological nomenclature. In science, animals and plants are classified and named using a universal system and language. At the narrowest or top level is the genus and species. Every animal and plant can be identified by its two-word (genus and species) name. (i.e. Homo sapiens: man). When subspecies are present, this can be a three-word name. (i.e. Elephas maximus maximus: Sri Lankan Asian elephant). If you think of species denoting one kind of animal or plant, then genus would include more than one kind. From the top level to the bottom level the number of animals or plants included in each group increases. In general the major categories of classification listed from top to bottom or low to high are:

Species, Genus, Family, Order, Class, Phylum, and Kingdom

Kingdom: Animalia

Classification problems

One of the major criteria for grouping animals in one classification or another is anatomy (bone and teeth structure). This is so because of their durability. The tusks of elephants evolved from enlarged incisor teeth. Most other tusked mammals formed them from canines. This among other characteristics helps identify the elephant's ancestors and relatives. The discovery of new fossils and the use of new scientific techniques could influence the classification of some species considerably.

Although its not a hard and fast rule, in general, the characteristics that distinguishes one classification from another should be true, as a whole, for all members of and below that classification, extinct and extant (living). These distinguishing characteristics should not be true, as a whole, for members outside or above the classification.



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