Elephants are a family in the order Proboscidea which is also a Greek word referring to their distinctive anatomy, the tusk and they belong to the class Mammalia. They are the largest land animals that can their calf can weigh up to 260lbs. They can have offspring up until they are around fifty years old and may live seventy years or possible more. Elephants are sensitive fellow animals where if a baby complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it. An elephant has been an icon for humanity for thousand years, appearing in cultures across Asia, Africa, America and Europe.
There are two living species of elephant, the African and the Asian which has been referred as Indian elephant. African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways, the most noticeable being their ears which much larger. They are also typically larger than Asian elephant and have a concave back. African elephants are named for the peculiar shape ridges of their molar teeth, it is coarser and fewer than those of Asian elephant. The African elephant has only four toes on the front feet and three on the back. Interestingly, it has one more vertebra in the lumbar section of the spine. Elephant populations in West Africa, on the other hand, are generally small and fragmented, and only account for a small proportion of the continental total.
The Asian elephant, Elephas Maximus, is smaller compared to African elephant. The Asian elephant species is the only surviving member of the Asian elephant genus, but can be divided into four subspecies, the Sri Lankan (Elephas maximus maximus), the Indian (Elephas maximus indicus) and the Sumatran (Elephas maximus sumatranus). The Asian elephant, Elephas Maximus, has an enormous domed head with relatively small ears, an arched back and a single finger like protuberance that is located at the tip of the trunk. An Asian elephant has five toes on the front of the feet and four on the back. The males have tusks and the females have 'tushes', which are shore second incisors that just stick out beyond the upper lip. However, it is important to note that on occasion females some times have longer tushes than described.
Elephants live in a structured social order. The social lives of male and female elephants are very different. The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. Elephants play a vital role in the ecosystem they inhabit. They can provide water for other species by digging water holes in dry riverbeds.