Giant wanderers

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We had elephants almost a million years ago. They roamed the Philippines, together with other large animals like the rhinoceros and stegodon. They resemble the elephants found today in neighboring countries like India and Thailand.

The elephants that used to live in the Philippines were believed to resemble the Elephas maximus species, more popularly known as Asian elephants. They differ from the African elephants (Loxodonta sp.) in anatomy. Asian elephants are significantly smaller and their highest body point is on the head. They also have much smaller ears and only the males grow tusks.

These elephants probably occupied the Philippines around 750,000 years ago. Most of the fossils, consisting of molars, tusks and bones, were found in Cagayan, Pangasinan, Kalinga-Apayao and Iloilo.

These animals began to disappear from the Philippine islands because of many reasons, including predation and increased human population.

Abigael Castro

National Museum of Natural History

E-mail: directornatmuse@yahoo.com

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