The straight-tusked elephants is named after its up to three meter long tusks. Its Danish name “skovelefant”, which means “forest elephant” is based on their preferred habitat.

The elephant spread from the Central and Southern Europe towards north in warmer periods. In cold periods it could be found further south, where it followed forest-covered areas, which were its preferred habitat. The straight-tusked elephant lived in Denmark in the Eemian Interglacial period 130,000-115,000 years ago. It was the interglacial period that happed prior to our last ice age – Weichselian glaciation. Back then the summer temperature was a bit higher than it is today.

Classification – Family

The straight-tusked elephants are closely related to the present-day African forest elephant, and it had long straight tusks.


Scientific name: Elephas namadicus (previously also called Palaeoloxodon antiquus).

Height: Approximately 4,0 m.

Weight: 11-15 tons.

Food source: Trees, shrubs, and grass.

Distribution: Europe, Asia Minor, and the Middle East.

Status: Extinct. It lived in the last part of the Quarternary period. There is a 400,000 year old find from the Southern England, and it is believed that the Iberian Peninsula has been their last habitat until about 30,000 years ago. Found in Denmark.