Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Extinct elephant 'survived late' in North China


They had previously been identified as Elephas maximus, the Asian elephant that still inhabits southern China.

The findings suggest that Palaeoloxodon 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No wild elephants live in North China today, but historical documents indicate that they roamed freely 3,000 years ago.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.
"They thought North China was controlled by tropical climate at that time," explained Ji Li, from Shaanxi Normal University, who collaborated on the study with colleagues professor Yongjian Hou, professor Yongxiang Li and Jie Zhang.

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