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Extinct Elephant Survived Late In North China
Dec 19, 2012
Wild elephants living in North China 3,000 years ago belonged to the extinct genus Palaeoloxodon, scientists say.
They had previously been identified as Elephas maximus, the Asian elephant that still inhabits southern China.
The findings suggest that Palaeloxodon survived a further 7,000 years than was thought.
The team from China examined fossilised elephant teeth and ancient elephant-shaped bronzes for the study.
The research, published in Quaternary International was carried out by a group of scientists from Shaanxi Normal University and Northwest University in Xi’an and The Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing.No wild elephants live in North China today, but historical documents indicate that they roamed freely 3,000 years ago.
For decades experts believed that the ancient elephants were E. maximus – a species adapted to a tropical climate and that is still found in China’s southerly Yunnan province.
From Xinhua news agency:
Ancient elephant tusk found in east China
A fossilized elephant tusk that can be dated back at least 10,000 years has been discovered in east China’s Anhui Province, local cultural heritage authorities said Monday.
A villager spotted the fossil tooth, more than three meters in length, on Thursday while working on his farmland in the township of Gucheng, Huaiyuan County in Bengbu City, said Chen Liding, director of the county’s institute of cultural heritage management.
Experts with the institute identified the tusk as belonging to an adult elephant of the extinct genus Palaeoloxodon after unearthing the fossil buried over two meters underground, Chen said.
The tusk was fragile as a result of calcification, he added.
The species is believed to inhabit Anhui and Henan provinces of the Huaihe River basin between 120,000 and 10,000 years ago.
In 2007, a fossil tooth of a Palaeoloxodon elephant was found several kilometers from the township of Gucheng, Chen said.
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