Taxonomic status of living elephants

Although elephants are well-known animals, there are debates over the taxonomy of both African and Asian species and subspecies.

Museum scientists aim to complement existing genetic research with studies of anatomical variation, especially the features on which the species and subspecies were originally defined.

  • Ghana elephant with 'intermediate' ear shape
    African elephants

    While recent genetic research has raised the possibility that the two classic forms of elephant in Africa are separate species rather than subspecies of Loxodonta africana, Museum research has uncovered populations with a mosaic of features. Discover more about our findings and recommendations.

  • Adult female Borneo elephants with young
    Asian elephants

    Learn about Museum research relating to Borneo elephants, an interesting population which is genetically distinct from all other living populations.