Extinct Elephants

While only three elephant species are alive today, these large land mammals used to be a lot more widespread and diverse. Some of these, like Tetralophodon longirostris, had four tusks instead of two. In contrast, others, like the Woolly Mammoth, had fur coats to survive in the winter.

Extinct Elephants

List of Elephants That Went Extinct

ElephantsCharacteristicsWhen Did It Become Extinct?Why Did It Go Extinct?
Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)About the same size as modern-day African Elephants, these mammoths were well adapted to survive in the coldAbout 4000 years agoWhile the exact reasons are unclear, scientists postulate that it may have been due to overhunting by humans or rising temperatures
American Mastodon (Mammut americanum)Ancient American elephant that had 16 ft long tusksAbout 10,500 years agoVictim of the Quaternary extinction event
Deinotherium giganteumWhile similar to modern elephants in appearance, they resembled modern tapir physiologicallyAbout 7 million years agoLoss of their forested habitats for more open grasslands
Aphanobelodon zhaoiThese prehistoric pachyderms lacked the upper tusks that many of their brethren possessedMiddle Miocene (about 14 million years ago) It was most likely part of a mass extinction event
Anancus arvernensisAncient elephant native to AfricaEarly Pleistocene (about 2 million years ago)Inefficient feeding
European Straight-tusked Elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus)Dwarf elephant native to EurasiaAbout 30,000 years agoLoss of favorable climate conditions alongside overhunting by humans
Channel Islands Mammoth (Mammuthus exilis)Dwarf elephant native to the northern Channel Islands of CaliforniaAbout 10,000 years agoVictim of the Quaternary extinction event
Colombian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)Eurasian mammoth closely related to the modern Asian ElephantAround 10,000 to 13,000 years agoRise in temperature combined with the arrival of humans
Cretan Dwarf Mammoth (Mammuthus creticus)Mammoth endemic to CreteMiddle Miocene (about 14 million years ago)Unclear
Naumann’s Elephant (Palaeoloxodon naumanni)Ancient elephant native to JapanAbout 24,000 years agoMost likely a victim of the Last Ice Age
Barytherium graveAncient elephant that resembled a tapir or an elephant sealEarly Oligocene (about 34 million years ago)Unclear
Elephas planifronsOne of the earliest elephants to appear outside of AfricaEarly Pleistocene (about 2 million years ago)Unclear
Cuvieronius hyodonAncient elephant native to the AmericasAbout 12,000 years agoVictim of the Quaternary extinction event
Loxodonta adauroraAncestor of the modern African ElephantPliocene (about 4.5 million years ago)Unclear
Amebelodon frickiAncient elephant native to North AmericaLate Miocene (about 6 million years ago)Loss of its grazing areas due to changing environments
Gomphotherium hannibaliAncient elephant that was found in North America, Eurasia, and AfricaLate Miocene (about 10 million years ago)Victim of the Quaternary extinction event
Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)Ancestor of the Woolly MammothMiddle Pleistocene (about 0.7 million years ago)Replaced by the Woolly Mammoth over time
Palaeoloxodon falconeriDescendent of the Straight-tusked ElephantAround 400,000 years agoLoss of resources due to climate and environmental change
Palaeoloxodon mnaidriensisDwarf elephant that shrank by 80% of its original mass over time Around 19,000 years agoUnclear
Palaeoloxodon namadicusBelieved to be the largest land mammal to have ever lived, with a partially recovered tusk about 12 feet in length and weighing over 260 lbsAround 24,000 to 34,000 years agoLoss of forested areas
Palaeoloxodon reckiThe most dominant elephant species in East Africa for a long timeEarly Pleistocene (about 1 million years ago)Potentially overhunted by humans
Phanagoroloxodon mammontoidesUnique species that bears a resemblance to mammoths and other early elephantsEarly Pleistocene (about 1 million years ago)Unclear
Southern Mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis)Ancient mammoth native to EuropeEarly Pleistocene (about 800,000 years ago)Potentially overhunting by humans
Stegotetrabelodon syrticusAncient elephant with extremely large lower tusksLate Miocene (around 8 million to 6 million years ago)Unclear
Stegoxolodon celebensisDwarf elephant from SulawesiEarly Pleistocene (about 1 million years ago)Unclear
Stegoxolodon indonesicusDwarf elephant from JavaEarly Pleistocene (about 1 million years ago)Unclear

Note: Not every extinct elephant is represented here, as some have very little information about them, while new ones continue to be discovered.