An elephant’s running speed is limited by its enormous weight – up to five tons – and its height of up to 10 feet. In a 2010 article published in the “Journal of Experimental Biology,” the maximum speed of an elephant is 5 meters per second, which equates to about 21.2 miles per hour. The research team, consisting of researchers from Belgium, Italy and Thailand, conducted the study at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand. They followed 34 Asian elephants on a 164-foot track containing metal plates capable of measuring the forces generated by the elephants. Scientists have determined that fast-moving elephants do not actually run, but have a gait that is a mixture of a walk and a trot. Elephants always have at least one foot on the ground, while they normally run part of the time in the air.
Average Speed Of An Elephant
They often change the pattern of their steps as they accelerate. Elephants are different – they maintain a continuous increase in stride length and frequency as they accelerate. The order of an elephant’s stride and the relationship of its limbs remain the same throughout its speed range. A research study found that elephants increase their jump by pressing the steps while accelerating. At the same time, the vertical movements of the elephant’s center of mass are reduced by 2/3 when it reaches maximum speed. Scientists have determined that elephants produce only about 1/3 the average mass-specific mechanical work of other locomotives.
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Based in Greenville SC, Eric Bank has been writing business-related articles since 1985. He holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in Finance from DePaul University. You can see examples of his work at ericbank.com. This article is about the paraphyletic group. For close extinct relatives, see Elephantidae. For other uses, see Elephant (disambiguation).
Elephants are the largest extant land animals. Three living species are briefly recognized: the African elephant, the African forest elephant and the Asian elephant. They are the only surviving members of the family Elephantidae and order Proboscidea. The order was previously much more diverse during the Pleistocene, but most species became extinct during the late Pleistocene. Special features of elephants include a long trunk called a proboscis, tusks, large ear flaps, rod-like legs, and tough but sensitive skin. The trunk is used for breathing, bringing food and water through the mouth and grasping objects. The tusks, which are derived from the incisors, function both as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Large earmuffs help maintain a constant body temperature as well as communication. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs, while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or flat backs.
Elephants are spread across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia and are found in a variety of habitats, including savannas, forests, deserts, and wetlands. They are herbivores and live near water where it is available. They are considered keystone species due to their impact on the environment. Elephants have a fission and fusion society, where several family groups come together to socialize. Females (cows) often live in family groups, which may consist of one female with calves or several related females with offspring. Groups, which do not include bulls, are usually led by the oldest cow, known as the matriarch.
Males (bulls) leave their family groups when they reach puberty and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls usually interact with family groups in search of a mate. They have a state of increased testosterone and aggression known as must, which helps them gain dominance over other males as well as reproductive success. Calves are the center of attention in their family groups and are dependent on their mothers for as long as three years. In the wild, elephants can live up to 70 years. They communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound; elephants use infrasound and seismic communication over long distances. The intelligence of an elephant is compared to that of primates and whales. They seem to have self-awareness and seem to show empathy for dying and dead family members.
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists African and Asian elephants as endangered and African forest elephants as critically endangered. One of the biggest threats to the elephant population is the elephant trade, as the animals are hunted for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local populations. Elephants are used as working animals in Asia. Formerly they were used in war; today they are often controversially exhibited in zoos or exploited to hold circuses. Elephants are highly recognizable and are represented in art, folklore, religion, literature and popular culture.
The word “elephant” is based on the Latin elephas (gitive elephantis) (“elephant”), which is a Latinized form of the Greek ελεφας (elephas) (gitive ελεφαντος (elephants)
As in Mycenaean Greek, Homer used the Greek word to mean ivory, but after Herodotus’ time it also referred to the animal.
The word “elephant” appears in Middle Glish as olifant (c. 1300) and is borrowed from Old French olifant (12th century).
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Together with their closest relatives, they belong to the family Elephantidae, the only remaining family within the order Proboscidea. Their closest extant relatives are Syrians (dugongs and manatees) and hyraxes, with which they share the clade Paungulata in the superorder Afrotheria.
Three types of elephants are recognized; the African bush elephant (Lokodonta africana) and forest elephant (Lokodonta ciclotis) from sub-Saharan Africa and the Asian elephant (Elephas makimus) from South and South-East Asia.
African elephants have larger ears, a concave back, more wrinkled skin, a sloping belly, and two finger-like protrusions on top of their trunk. Asian elephants have smaller ears, bulging or flat backs, smoother skin, a horizontal belly that occasionally hangs in the middle, and a single extension at the top of the trunk. The looped backs of the molars are narrower in Asian elephants, while in African elephants they are more diamond-shaped. The Asian elephant also has ridges on its head and some patches of depigmentation on its skin.
Among African elephants, forest elephants have smaller and rounder ears and thinner and straighter tusks than bush elephants and are restricted in range to the forested areas of West and Central Africa.
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Both were traditionally considered a single species, Locodonta africana, but molecular studies have confirmed their status as separate species.
In 2017, DNA sequence analysis showed that L. ciclotis is a closer relative of the extinct Palaeolocodon antikuus than it is of L. africana, likely undermining the Locodonta goose as a whole.
Eoce included Numidotherium, Moeritherium and Baritherium from Africa. These animals were relatively small and aquatic. Later there were genera such as Phiomia and Palaeomastodon; the latter probably inhabited forests and wooded areas. Proboscidean diversity declined during the Oligocene.
A notable species from this era was Erythreum melakeghebrekristosi from the Horn of Africa, which may have been the ancestor of several later species.
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At the beginning of the Miocene, another diversification occurs, with the appearance of deinotes and mammoths. The first were related to Barytherium and lived in Africa and Eurasia,
And originated in Africa, spreading to all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Members of this group included Gomphotherium and Platybelodon.
A third radiation began at the end of the Miocene and led to the arrival of elephants, which descended from gomphotheres and slowly replaced them.
African Primelephas gomphotheroides gave rise to Locodonta, Mammuthus and Elephas. Loxodonta diverged earliest around the Miocene-Pliocene boundary, while Mammoth and Elepha diverged later during the early Pliocene. Loxodonta remained in Africa, while Mammoth and Elephas spread to Eurasia, and were the first to reach North America. At the same time, stegodontids, another proboscidean group derived from gomphothera, spread throughout Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, China, Southeast Asia, and Japan. Mammothids continued to evolve into new species, such as the American mastodon.
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Locodonta atlantica became the most common species in North and South Africa, but was later replaced by Elephas iolsis in the Pleistocene. It was not until Elephas disappeared from Africa that Locodonta became dominant again, this time in the form of a modern species. Elephas spread to new species in Asia, such as E. hisudricus and E. platypus
Interbreeding appears to be common among elephant species, and in some cases leads to species with three ancestral genetic components, such as Palaeolocodon antikuus.
At the end of the Pleistocene, most proboscis species disappeared during the Quaternary Ice Age which killed 50% of geraniums over 5 kg (11 lb) worldwide.
Proboscideans experienced several evolutionary trends, such as increasing size, leading to many giant species that were up to 500 cm (16 ft 5 in) tall.
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As with other megaherbivores, including the extinct sauropod dinosaurs, elephants’ large size probably evolved to allow them to survive
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