Laelaps

i-d5ffff48c7bc8941785c4c1465b975b4-afelephant.jpg

This is one of the better shots of an African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) that I was able to get during my trip to the Disney Animal Kingdom Park last year (the ride that lets you view the elephants jolts you so much it’s hard to get a decent shot). This variety of elephant, distinct from the Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus), is the larger of what are perhaps two species of elephant inhabiting Africa at present. The second species is the African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), although the splitting of the forest group into a new species is still controversial. Regardless of the label we give to the forest elephants (be it a subspecies or species distinction) they do differ in a number of ways from their larger African relatives, most notably in the shape of their ears, the conformation of their mandible, and their tusks, and the differences seem to be backed up by genetic evidence.