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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Proboscidea (elephants, mammoths)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia >  Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals) > Placentalia (placental mammals) > Afrotheria > Paenungulata > Tethytheria

Species indigenous to southern Africa

Loxodonta africana (African elephant)

African elephants are the largest living land mammals (maximum weight 10 000 kg, weight at birth 120 kg). As elephants grow continuously throughout their lives, the largest member of a herd is usually the oldest. The heaviest pair of tusks recorded, came from Kenya and weighed 102.3 kg and 97 kg respectively. Elephants live in small family groups led by an older cow the matriarch. At times of abundant food or water several famly groups may congregate to form a large herd. Adult bulls are solitary or from part of smaller bachelor groups and only join the family herds when females are in breeding condition. The elephant is one of Africa’s “Big Five”.