Year of 2017

Elephants crossing Luangwa River, Zambia

The African elephant has the biggest brain of any land mammal, with an average mass of about 11 pounds. Its brain has a complex neocortex as well, a trait seen only in apes, some dolphins, and humans. Scientists think the African elephant’s brain structure is but one indicator of its intelligence—elephants in both the wild and in captivity have exhibited complex and emotional behaviors, all signs of a highly intelligent species. These behaviors include tool use, recall, and even compassionate actions.

African elephants are elephants of the genus Loxodonta, from Greek λοξός + ὀδούς. The genus consists of two extant species: the African bush elephant, L. africana, and the smaller African forest elephant, L. cyclotis. Loxodonta is one of two existing genera of the family, Elephantidae. Fossil remains of Loxodonta have been found only in Africa, in strata as old as the middle Pliocene. However, sequence analysis of DNA extracted from fossils of an extinct elephant species undermines the validity of the genus.
Weight: 5,000 pound (2,268 kg) – 13,999 pound (6,350 kg)
Scientific name: Loxodonta
Lifespan: 60 years – 70 years
Height: 98.43 inch (250 cm) – 157.48 inch (400 cm) · 118.11 inch (300 cm) (Newborn)
Gestation period: 670 days (African bush elephant)
Biological classification: Genus