Anancus sp. , Photo: Michael Lahanas
The jaw of Anancus, an extinct gomphotheriid elephant.
Anancus is an extinct genus of gomphothere that lived in the late Miocene and early Pleistocene, from 3 to 1.5 million years ago. Their fossils have been found in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Anancus stood around 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall, and closely resembled a modern elephant. It had two tusks, whereas most other gomphotheres had four. Aside from its somewhat shorter legs, Anancus was also different from modern elephants in that its tusks were much longer, up to 4 m (13 ft) in length. The tusks were probably defence weapons. The molars were not composed of lamellae like those of true elephants, but had cusps, like tapir and pig molars; Anancus appears to have lived in forests, eating from trees and shrubs and digging out tubers and roots in the forest floor, and it died out when these forests gave way to grasslands.
Although not as famous, Anancus was at least as big as its cousins the mammoths.
1. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 241. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
* Benes, Josef (1979). Prehistoric Animals and Plants. Prague: Artua. p. 263.
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