How are African and Asian Elephants different?
There are three species of elephants living on the Earth today. These are the African bush elephant, the African elephant and the Asian elephant. These large mammals are the descendants of prehistoric animals that once roamed the planet, such as the Mammoth and the Mastadon. Many people confuse the African and Asian elephant and think that they are the same species.
The African elephant has the scientific classification of Loxodonta Africana. It is the largest mammal in the world. The male of the species can weigh as much as 12,000 pounds and stand at a height of 12 feet. They are four molars and it total they weigh ten pounds. The front molars do wear down after a while, and when this happens, the molars in the back move forward to replace them. All through the life of the African elephant this change only happens six times.
Often called the Indian elephant, the scientific classification of the Asian elephant is Elephas Maximus. It is mainly found in India, but can be found in other countries of Asia, such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. This species of elephant is listed as being an endangered species because of the roughly 40,000 of them living in Asia, more than half are in captivity.
There are distinguishing characteristics that would make it easy to tell the difference between the African and Asian elephants. The Asian elephant has smaller ears and it has two bumps on its head. The African elephant uses its large ears to fan its body. The female of the African elephant species have tusks, but the females of the Asian elephant species do not.
The African elephant and the African bush elephant are the only two sub-species that are still alive out of six species that used to exist. There are four sub-species of the Asian elephant are still in existence. They are the Indian elephant, the Borneo elephant, the Sumatran elephant and the Sri Lankan elephant.
Elephants have become an endangered species because over the centuries they were hunted and killed for their tusks that are pure ivory. The meat can also be sold because it brings very high prices on the market. If the illegal hunting continues, the day may come that there are no elephants left alive.
- The African female elephant has tusks, but the Asian female elephant does not.
- The African elephant is larger than the Asian elephant in every way – larger ears, weighs more, and is taller.
- The African elephant has wrinkled skin and a concave shape to its back. The back of the Asian elephant is straight.
- The head of the African elephant is smooth and the head of the Asian elephant has bumps.
- The trunk of the Asian elephant ends in one finger and that of the African elephant ends in two fingers.
- There are two living sub-species of the African elephant and four living species of the Asian elephant.