As a dwarf elephant is a series of largely extinct, diminutive elephant forms that have evolved during the ice age on different islands. Survived up to now the Borneo - dwarf elephant. In addition, there is speculation about the existence of a dwarf elephant, which should occur in the African rain forest.
Island dwarf elephants
As a dwarf elephants or better island - dwarf elephants is a series of short stature elephants of the genus Elephas and Mammuthus. The dwarfism is an adaptation to the reduced habitat on the islands, the reduced food supply and the absence of predators. Such reduced island forms came as a result of a process known as Inselverzwergung over the trunk TieRevolution more common, such as the Stegodons on the islands of Southeast Asia. In addition to the elephants were also subject to other large growing mammals such as the hippopotamus with the way Hippopotamus melitensis on some Mediterranean islands to the process of Inselverzwergung. However, such populations are susceptible to changes in environmental conditions such as natural disasters or human influences.
European island elephant
On some islands of the Mediterranean lived in the Pleistocene dwarf forms that developed in large part from the European forest elephant Elephas antiquus. Furthermore, species occur, albeit rarely, due to the genus Mammuthus. Its output forms can also be the steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii ) the state of Südelefant (Mammuthus meridionalis ) on the other.
Sicilian dwarf elephant
For this purpose, inter alia, the Sicilian dwarf elephant belonged (Elephas falconeri ) with a shoulder height of about one meter and a weight of around 170 kg. This type occurred both in Sicily and Malta, both when the sea level was in the cold periods of the Pleistocene much lower than today, formed a well- closed close geographical area. The species originated in the Middle Pleistocene in a first phase of geographical isolation. A second phase of isolation resulted in the late Pleistocene on Sicily and Malta to the formation of the species Elephas mnaidriensis, which measured a little less than 2 m at the shoulder and weighing up to 2.5 t. In contrast, the formerly described as a Maltese dwarf elephant Elephas Elephas is identical to mnaidriensis melitensis.
Tilos dwarf elephant
Even in the now partially tiny islands of the Dodecanese ( Tilos ) and the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, there were similar forms. One of them was the Tilos dwarf elephant ( Elephas tiliensis ) with a shoulder height of 1.4 m and a reconstructed weight of 650 kg. One of the latest dated skeletons of the island of Tilos has an age of 2400 BC, the last proof is about 1300 BC It is therefore possible that Bronze Age cultures of the Mediterranean basin have encountered these dwarf elephants and some with their extinction had to do; whether representations point to ancient Egyptian wall paintings such dwarf elephants, is still a point of contention. The skulls of dwarf elephants in ancient times may have contributed to the emergence of a Mediterranean legend of the Cyclops, as elephants in the middle of the forehead have a single nostril, which can easily be misread as an eye.
Cyprus Dwarf Elephant
One of only 250 kg very small dwarf turned to the Cyprus dwarf elephant represents (Elephas cypriotes ), which is demonstrated to about 9500 BC, and was eradicated with some certainty from the first colonizers of the island.
Sardinian Dwarf Mammoth
These included, among others, which occurs in Sardinia in the Late Pleistocene Mammuthus lamarmorai, which was about 1.5 m tall and weighed approximately 800 kg.
Crete - dwarf mammoth
Another representative was originally in its taxonomic position controversial, strong verzwergte Crete dwarf mammoth (Mammuthus creticus ) from the Frühpleistozän, which a few years ago by molecular genetic studies (see aDNA ) was identified as actually to the mammoth to be counted kind. Recent studies show that this is Mammutart with a shoulder height of 1.1 m and a weight of around 310 kg, the smallest ever known form of this pachyderm species.
Elephant Island in the Arctic Ocean
The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius ) developed a verzwergte island variant on the Siberian Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean, on the last population of this species still survived until about 4000 years ago, long after the mammoth became extinct on the mainland. These animals reached a shoulder height of around 1.8 m tonnes at a weight of about 2. Were slightly larger representatives of the woolly mammoth on the Pribilof Islands off the coast of Alaska, which also became extinct only in the Holocene, but a little earlier than the mammoths of Wrangel Island.
Elephant Island in the Pacific Ocean
In the Channel Islands off the coast of California lived in the Late Pleistocene Mammuthus exilis. This dwarf form was between 1.2 and 1.8 m tall and probably goes back to the prairie mammoth (Mammuthus columbi ) of the North American mainland. The Mammutart died out at the end of the Pleistocene.
Pygmy elephants of the Southeast Asian archipelago
With Elephas celebensis developed on Sulawesi, formerly Celebes, also in South East Asia Zwergelefantenart. All those living on small islands have become extinct. The living on Borneo Borneo pygmy elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis ) are a subspecies of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).
African dwarf elephant
The African pygmy elephant ( Loxodonta pumilio ) is a Elefantenart whose existence is not recognized as a separate species by science, although the cryptozoology has collected a number of direct and indirect hints.
The dwarf elephant lives reportedly in the tropical rainforest of Central Africa and where it divides its habitat and the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis ). To the penultimate turn of the century to have lived a dwarf elephant in the Hamburg zoo, as evidenced by photos. This was described by Professor Theophil Noack 1906 under the names of species Loxodonta pumilio. The dwarfism of the animal could, critical voices According, however, to have been caused by a genetic defect.
Occasionally, smaller herds were sighted by suspected dwarf elephants. The photos here are made but not very meaningful mostly because of the great distances and the bad reproduction of the size ratios. Some zoologists believe that they might be orphaned young animals in such herds. It is possible that these orphaned elephants that had to grow up without a mother, are stunted because of poorer nutritional conditions in appearance (phenotype ).
Another hypothesis is that the dwarf elephant another subspecies of the African elephant was, which was smaller and thus better adapted to life in the forest. As long as no dwarf elephants be directly observed, this controversy can not be decided.