Total anky death
Extinct as can be!

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North African elephant
Conservation status
Extinct  (c. 100)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Loxodonta
Species: Loxodonta africana
Subspecies: L. a. pharaoensis
Trinomial name
Loxodonta africana pharaoensis
Deraniyagala, 1948

The North African elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaoensis) is an extinct subspecies of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), or possibly a separate elephant species, that existed in North Africa north of the Sahara until becoming extinct in Ancient Roman times. These were the famous war elephants used by Carthage in the Punic Wars, their conflict with the Roman Republic. Although the subspecies has been formally described, it has not been widely recognized by taxonomists. Other names for this animal include the North African Bush elephant, North African forest elephant, Carthaginian elephant, and Atlas elephant. Originally, its natural range probably extended across North Africa and down to the present Sudanese and Eritrean coasts.



Carthaginian frescoes and coins minted by whoever controlled North Africa at various times show very small elephants, perhaps 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) at the shoulder, with the large ears and concave back typical of modern African elephants. The North African elephant was smaller than the modern African bush elephant (L. a. africana), probably similar in size to the modern African forest elephant (L. cyclotis). It is also possible that it was more docile and plainer than the African bush elephant, which is generally untamable, allowing the Punics to tame it as a war elephant by a method now lost to history.

Taxonomic Uncertainty[]

Given the relatively recent date of its disappearance, the status of this population can probably be resolved through ancient DNA sequence analyses, if specimens of definite North African origin are located and examined.