Macroscelids are known as elephant shrews because of their long and narrow snouts. Living exclusively in Africa, they are small mammals with a head and body length between 95 and 315 mm, and tail length between 80 and 235 mm.

Key Concepts

  • In spite of their name, elephant shrews (Macroscelidea) are not shrews and despite their appearance and size, they are not rodents either.
  • Systematics is the study and description of the diversification of both past and present organisms and their classification.
  • Phylogeny is a part of systematics that reports the inference of the evolutionary history and relationships among or within groups of organisms.
  • Conservation biology is the management of biodiversity with the objective of esablishing protective measures against the risks of extinction of species, of their habitats and to maintain a balance in ecosystems. This is why the species are classified by the IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species).
  • Paleontology corresponds to the study of organisms (classification and relationships) that lived prior to, and sometimes including, the beginning of the Holocene (around 11,700 years before present).

Keywords: mammals; Macroscelidea; elephant shrews; diversity; evolution


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Further Reading

Kingdon J, Happold D, Butynski T, et al. (2013) Mammals of Africa, vol. 1, 352p. Bloomsbury ed.

MacDonald DW (1986) Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File Publications: New York.

MacDonald DW (2001) The new Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press.

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How to Cite close
Montuire, Sophie(Dec 2020) Macroscelidea. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0029233]