The Palaeoloxodon elephant lived 10-40 thousand years ago and was named for its diamond-shaped molar plates. This replica skeleton, about 4 meters tall and 7 meters long, is one of the center pieces of the Museum.
Palaeoloxodon was a huge elephant that lived in the late Pleistocene, about 10 thousand to 40 thousand years ago. It had two long and straight tusks and high rising neural spines of vertebrae. Its large frontal crests formed a remarkable ridge above the nasal cavity in the cranium. Its teeth with rough enamel were lined with big folding. Its molar plates were ground to the diamond shape, and its last teeth in the back of upper and lower jaws were as thick as 40 cm. Fossils of Palaeoloxodon discovered from North China to Taiwan proves they once roamed there.
In the past two decades, Taiwanese fishermen captured quite an amount of Palaeoloxodon fossils in Penghu Channel -- the connection between Taiwan and Pescadores. It not only shows that Palaeoloxodon had spent an active life there, but also indicates that Taiwan was connected with Mainland China ten thousands of years ago. Though Palaeoloxodon is extinct, its fossils do provide us couple of crucial clues to explore the climate and geological changes in our environment.
Out of piles of fossil fragments discovered from the Penghu Channel, the Museum staff did a series of hard work of assembling, recovering, molding, casting, and mounting with the help from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and completed this replica skeleton of Palaeoloxodon in 1996. The Palaeoloxodon skeleton standing in the center of the Life Science Hall has become one of the center pieces of the Museum and attracted crowds of visitors.