ELEPHANT, the designation of the two existing representatives of the Proboscidea, a sub-order of ungulate mammals, and also extended to include their more immediate extinct relatives.
In these species the actinula is parasitic upon another medusa; for instance, Cunoctantha octonaria upon Turritopsis, C. proboscidea upon Liriope or Geryonia.
By other writers Proboscidea and Eproboscidea are treated as primary divisions of the Cyclorrhapha.
Orders: Insectivora, Chiroptera, Dermoptera, Edentata (Sub-orders: Xenarthra, Pholidota, Tubulidentata), Rodentia (Sub-orders: Duplicidentata, Simplicidentata), Tillodontia, Carnivora (Sub-orders: Fissipedia, Pinnipedia, Creodonta), Cetacea (Sub orders: Archaeoceti, Odontoceti, Mystacoceti), Sirenia, Ungulata (Sub-orders: Proboscidea, Hyracoidea, Barypoda, Toxodontia, Amblypoda, Litopterna, Ancylopoda, Condylarthra, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla), Primates (Sub-orders: Prosimiae, Anthropoidea).
The remaining and less typical subordinal groups - sometimes ranked as orders by themselves - include among living animals the Proboscidea, cr elephants, and the Hyracoidea, or hyraxes, and among extinct groups the Amblypoda, Ancylopoda, Barypoda, Condylarthra, Litopterna and Toxodontia.
Although the brain is relatively larger, the bones of the limbs, especially the short, five-toed feet, approximate to those of the Amblypoda and Proboscidea; but in the articulation of the astragalus with both the navicular and cuboid Arsinoitherium is nearer the former than the latter group. It is probable, however, that these resemblances are mainly due to parallelism in development, and are in all three cases adaptations necessary to support the enormous weight of the body.
From the Proboscidea Arsinoitherium differs broadly in skull structure, in the form of the cheek-teeth, and in the persistence of the complete dental series of forty-four without gaps or enlargement of particular teeth.
Dinotherium is a member of the group Proboscidea, of the line of descent of the elephants.
Proboscidea (Elephants and Mastodons).
The peculiar mode of displacement of the teeth from behind forwards in some members of both groups may perhaps indicate a relationship, although in the case of the Sirenia the replacement takes place by means of a succession of similar molars, while in the Proboscidea the molars remain the same numerically, but increase greatly in size and number of transverse ridges."
These and certain other facts referred to by the same author point to the conclusion that not only are the Sirenia and the Proboscidea derived from a single ancestral stock, but that the Hyracoidea - and so Arsinoitherium - are also derivatives from the same stock, which must necessarily have been Ethiopian.
The Amblypoda, on the other hand, are perhaps not far removed from the ancestral Proboscidea, which depart comparatively little from the generalized ungulate type.
Recent discoveries have demonstrated the African origin of the elephants (Proboscidea) and hyraxes (Hyracoidea), the latter group being still indeed mainly African, and in past times also limited to Africa and the Mediterranean countries.
The Upper Eocene rocks of Egypt have also yielded primeval types of the Proboscidea and other mammalia.