Apotea (CC BY-SA 3.0)
British Wildlife 33.3 December 2021

British elephants

Up until approximately half a million years ago, Britain was once connected to continental Europe and shared much of its natural flora and fauna, including elephants. Peter Marren takes us back to explore Britain’s lost prehistoric elephant species and describes their role in shaping the landscape.

Once, not long ago as geological time is measured, the world was full of elephants. There were at least three species in North America and two in South America. There were four in Eurasia and four more in Africa. There were elephants in polar latitudes, as well as in the tropics. There were elephants adapted to forest or savanna or grassy northern plains. The only land masses free of elephants were Australia and Antarctica.

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