(After a king of Rome).
Named By: Aymard - 1885.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Paenungulata, Proboscidea, Gomphotheriidae.
Species: A. arvernensis, A. alexeevae, A. brazosius, A. cuneatus, A. kazachstanensis, A. perimensis, A. sinensis, A. sivalensis, A. osiris, A. petrocchii, A. kenyensis.
Size: 3 meters high at the shoulder, tusks up to 4 meters long.
Known locations: Across Africa, Europe and central Asia.
Time period: From Aquitanian of the Miocene through to Gelasian of the Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Multiple specimens.
not the largest of prehistoric elephants, Anancus
stands out from the
crowd with its greatly elongated tusks which could reach lengths of up
to four meters, almost as long as the body. These tusks which were
like in all elephants modified teeth, are thought to have been used
to root up plants that were in front of it. Once loosened up,
Anancus could then take a few steps forward and
pick the plants up
with its trunk. This kind of foraging behaviour would have allowed
Anancus to specialise in feeding upon plants that
were beyond the
capability of herbivores.
Although first appearing in the Miocene period, Anancus already has a more modern elephant body form, particularly with its shorter neck. The legs of Anancus however were still proportionately shorter than they were in modern forms. Anancus seems to have been a common sight in Africa during the Miocene and Pliocene with European and Asian deposits appearing during the Pliocene and continuing into the first stage of Pleistocene. Anancus does not seem to have survived beyond this point in the Pleistocene however, probably because of the on-going series of glaciations changing the environment, as well as competition from mammoths that were better adapted to live in this environment.
- Interrelationships of late Neogene elephantoids: new evidence from the Middle Awash Valley, Afar, Ethiopia. - J. E. Kalb & D.J. Froelich - 1995.
- New material of Anancus kenyensis (Proboscidea, Mammalia) from Toros-Menalla (Late Miocene, Chad): Contribution to the systematics of African anancines. - Journal of African Earth Sciences 53:171-176. - Lionel Hautier, Hassane Taisso Mackaye, Fabrice Lihoreau & Pascal Tassy - 2009.