The Dwarf Elephant is an extinct species, not to be confused with the Pygmy Elephant. This species lived in the Pleistocene period, which is the period that extended from 1.8 million to 10 000 years before our present.
The dwarf elephant was about a tenth of the size of the average elephant today. Their habitat was scattered all over the world, but they are thought to have lived particularly in the areas that are today known as the Channel Islands of California, Cyprus, Malta, Crete, Sicily, the Cyclades Islands and the Dodecanese Islands. These amazing creatures are considered to be the only elephant species of the mammoth line in the Mediterranean.
There are many opinions in the scientific community regarding what the dwarf elephant actually was. Dwarf Elephants differed from island to island and were not considered to be the same animals. Colonisation details are also disputable. The only consensus that appears to exist is that these intriguing creatures did, at one time and in some form, exist.
The Dwarf Elephant fossils found on the Mediterranean islands are thought to have come from the continental, straight-tusked elephant. When the sea level dropped dramatically, the island would become recolonised with new Dwarf Elephant species. These would breed with the existing elephants and give rise to a hybrid breed of Dwarf Elephant. For this reason, each island boasted its own unique sub-species.
Elephants today are largely known for their impressive size. Therefore, it is always with intrigue and fascination that we consider other species of mammoth that so closely resembled these ample beasts, but in such perfect, miniature form.
Here is a bit more about dawf elephants: