Distribution and habitat

Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus was at times a common element of the fauna right across Eurasia.   

Well preserved fossils of straight-tusked elephants are know from 

  • Britain 
  • across Europe 
  • Asia as far as Japan

UK finds

Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus  was first defined on the basis of remains of probable OIS 5c date from the caves of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, most notably Bacon Hole and Minchin Hole.

Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus is quite commonly found in suitable environmental settings as complete or partial skeletons and is also commonly well preserved. Notably good examples of this species have been found at sites in London

One of the more famous examples is the “Lower Elephant” which was found immediately underlying the skeleton of a Steppe Mammoth at Aveley in Essex.



Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus lived in and consumed large areas of interglacial woodland vegetation in Europe and Asia. The straight tusk elephant following the spread of the woodland environment through climatic warming and glacial retreat.

Elephas (Palaeoloxodon) antiquus may also have lived close to river systems.  Isolated elements such as teeth or limb bones do turn up in more sorted, gravel-rich conditions in many river systems.  In Britain this species is often found in association with remains of hippopotamus in early Last Interglacial deposits (OIS substage 5e), about 125,000 years old.