My Elephantine mistake

Copyright: Shoshani and Tassy 2004

I’ve been telling you something very wrong about Hannibal’s elephants all this time. Not deliberately, mind you.

Almost three years ago, when I wrote my post “about Hannibal’s elephants“, I was really just kidding around, as I was in the early stages of research for my book. The levity, I thought, was abundantly obvious from my treatment of the subject. I did not mean to imply that I had any idea of what I was talking about (although I sort of do now).

I was, you see, a blogger! (Ie, I was more interested in thinking out loud, and getting readers to correct me, than in pontificating authoritatively.)

To my surprise, that particular blog post keeps getting a lot of traffic. In fact, its traffic is increasing. I have no idea why, so I must guess that the Google gods are sending people its way (which should cast aspersions on Google’s algorithms, not on my post). Those of you who blog may have made the same discovery: those posts you think are most valuable are not at all the ones that attract the eyeballs, and vice versa.

So I will set the record straight in this post. But first, I’m delighted what the earlier post has already done: It has brought me many of my readers (mostly the silent, non-commenting type). One of you has even (hush, hush) hinted that you might write a children’s book about Hannibal’s elephants — and I have voluteered my own kids and me as the first readers.

Now: The first question is how many elephants Hannibal brought with him when he left Iberia to cross the Alps and attack Rome. I’ve read the number 37, but Serge Lancel, the late French historian who seems to know best, says 27 (on page 63 of his book). So I’m going with that. Personally, I don’t really care about the real number. It changes nothing in the story and the drama.

The second question — and the one I answered wrong — is: which kind of elephant?

The correct answer is the African Forest Elephant, or Loxodonta cyclotis:

Click for attribution

As it happens, we very recently (last year) discovered that these elephants were an entirely different species (as opposed to just a sub-species) of elephant. So you should imagine the (older) genealogical tree at the top with another twig on the third branch from the right, as this blog post explains.

The discovery comes via DNA analysis from Nadine Rohland, David Reich, Swapan Mallick, Matthias Meyer, Richard Green, et al., who summarize their findings here:

Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth… We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera… The divergence of African savanna and forest elephants—which some have argued to be two populations of the same species—is about as ancient as the divergence of Asian elephants and mammoths…

So it is those forest elephants that Hannibal brought with him. They were quite a bit smaller than the savanna elephants of Africa. So artists have, for millennia, exaggerated their size.

Or have they? Generations of boys reading about Hannibal must have imagined them just as the young Roman legionaries perceived them, which is roughly thus:

37 thoughts on “My Elephantine mistake

    • Lo, yet another Elephantine mistake by me. Yes, indeed, the lasses read it as the lads do (though I would venture that the readership probably skews male, given all the the sword-wielding and spear-gnashing and what not)

  1. If I may offer a possible answer to why you get a number of visitors to your “About Hannibal’s elephants”? You used 3 images from Wikipedia in the post. Anyone Googling images of elephants or Hannibal is likely to come across the images and a click on one those images would possibly bring one to your blog post. In fact, that blog post was the second image shown when I searched images for “Hannibal elephants”.

    To be sure, once they have found that post, it is likely they examined your blog in more depth.

    Even though Hannibal’s elephants may have been smaller than the large ones of imagination, they would still have towered over horses and men, I would think. Great beasts would strike fear in his opponents. And such have been used for thousands of years.

    http://www.suite101.com/content/elephants-in-warfare-a85567

    • Aha, that might explain it.

      And yes, I think fearsomeness — ie, psychology — was and is the main power of this as of any other weapon. Once the Romans “got used” to the elephants, the elephants became less effective. At Zama, Scipio had his men cooly form lanes through which the beasts stampeded, without doing much harm at all…

  2. I love proboscideans, especially the extinct gomphotheres! I’m glad they made an appearance (albeit in a tangentially-related cladogram in an 8 point font) in your blog!

    Speaking of long dead proboscideans, reading about the Punic wars always makes me feel sad and anxious for the elephants. Maybe it was that first scene in “Salammbô” or maybe it was knowing about the dreadful elephant carnage underpinning Scipio’s ultimate victory at Zama…whatever the case, my sentimentality for the great pachyderms always reminds me that it’s good not to be a Roman (or a Victorian for that matter).

    • I know. Just look how cute those two elephants are in the picture above. I’m on their side, really. They didn’t volunteer to climb any danged Alps.

      The gomphotheres are there just for you, because you’re a connoisseur. Most ordinary people you meet in the mall just settle for the proboscideans.

  3. Fascinating, Andreas, and totally new to me that the “divergence of African savanna and forest elephants—which some have argued to be two populations of the same species— is about as ancient as the divergence of Asian elephants and mammoths.”

    I only wonder how they know the forest elephants were the ones brought by Hannibal to Italy (I guess I should read the book you mention). I mean, did they analyse elephant bones DNA dug in the Italian battle fields? It wouldn’t be that terribly surprising, since peasants for centuries kept digging up Roman soldiers’ bones on the Second punic war battle fields that had more casualties, such as Cannae in Apulia or Lago Trasimeno, that became so red with blood that it was renamed for a while ‘Sanguineto’, the Blood River.

    • Ah, that would be the biggest archeology prize since Schliemann’s Troy. If we could find those elephant bones! Just one cell of a tusk, and we would have the DNA.

      I’m not aware that we have found any in Italy. All but one seem to have died in or around the battle of the Trebia (a tributary of the Po, so perhaps near your old hunting grounds). That’s where to dig. At Trasimene and Cannae he was fighting without elephants. At Zama, he had new ones, but he was in Africa again.

    • @Andreas

      I see, and of course a few must have died when Hannibal crossed the Pyrenees but maybe only during the much more difficult Alps crossing. Too lazy now to research now but all this is of course stirring the imagination. Although as far as I know the Romans were defeated by Hannibal’s superior military command and elephants (at Trebia) counted little (I may be wrong) since the Romans had met elephants earlier when facing Hellenistic Pyrrhus from Epirus.

      In any case elephants were terrible war weapons, as Douglas’ article also indicates.

      All the best
      From Med West

      🙂

  4. If it walks like an elephant and quacks like an elephant, it’s an elephant, and you don’t want it to step on your toes. Never mind the minutiae.

    I, too, have one post I published last August that now generates roughly 50% of the entire traffic to my blog. The spike in hits began very suddenly in December, virtually all of them sent from Google. All silent visitors. No comments. Has an animal in the title, too.

    People love animals.

  5. Re: “I think fearsomeness … was and is the main power of this as of any other weapon … [but] Scipio had his men cooly form lanes through which the beasts stampeded, without doing much harm at all …”

    The “fearsomeness” of a charge by elephants was perhaps well-described by a British officer facing, in his case, a French calvary charge at Waterloo: 

    About four P.M. the enemy’s artillery in front of us ceased firing all of a sudden, and we saw large masses of cavalry advance: not a man present who survived could have forgotten in after life the awful grandeur of that charge. You discovered at a distance what appeared to be an overwhelming, long moving line, which, ever advancing, glittered like a stormy wave of the sea when it catches the sunlight. On they came until they got near enough, whilst the very earth seemed to vibrate beneath the thundering tramp of the mounted host. One might suppose that nothing could have resisted the shock of this terrible moving mass. They were the famous cuirassiers, almost all old soldiers, who had distinguished themselves on most of the battlefields of Europe. In an almost incredibly short period they were within twenty yards of us, shouting “Vive l’Empereur”…

    Wellington, like Scipio, reacted by having his men “coolly form lanes” — by forming squares — as depicted here:

    Waterloo (1970)
    Rod Steiger:  Napoleon 
    Chistopher Plummer: Wellington

    • Powerful quote, and powerful clip, Jim M.

      How would I react if I were transported from being armchair general to standing in a line of men with elephants or cuirassiers charging at me?

      But I imagine myself into both the mounted charger and the infantryman. The charger must feel ‘naked from below’, charging into a formed line (of hoplites, Britons…). You can wield a sword only one side, preferably the right, and downward. And will the rider on your left side cover you? What happens once you leap over/penetrate the first line of infantry? If the enemy is a phalanx…

      Or do you stay in your pack of horsemen (Numidians, cuirassiers…) and circle the infantry phalanx? Who is more scared, the man on foot or the man mounted?

    • Churchill on “The Sensations of a Cavalry Charge” (1930)

      In one respect a cavalry charge is very like ordinary life. So long as you are all right, firmly in your saddle, your horse in hand, and well armed, lots of enemies will give you a wide berth. But as soon as you have lost a stirrup, have a rein cut, have dropped your weapon, are wounded, or your horse is wounded, then is the moment when from all quarters enemies rush upon you. Such was the fate of not a few of my comrades in the troops immediately on my left. Brought to an actual standstill in the enemy’s mass, clutched at from every side, stabbed at and hacked at by spear and sword, they were dragged from their horses and cut to pieces by the infuriated foe. But this I did not at the time see or understand. My impressions continued to be sanguine. I thought we were masters of the situation, riding the enemy down, scattering them and killing them.

      The reader must remember that I had been trained as a cavalry soldier to believe that if ever cavalry broke into a mass of infantry, the latter would be at their mercy.

      From MY EARLY LIFE: A ROVING COMMISSION (pages 191-2)

      http://www.archive.org/stream/rovingcommissino001321mbp/rovingcommissino001321mbp_djvu.txt

  6. I am sure that you know this important piece about elephants by A. E. Houseman:

    A tail behind, a trunk in front,
    Complete the usual elephant.
    The tail in front, the trunk behind
    Is what you very seldom find.

    If you for specimens should hunt
    With trunks behind and tails in front,
    The hunt would occupy you long;
    The force of habit is so strong.

    (By force of habit, this is true
    in forest and savannah too.)

  7. He is right about the pic links: The oracle at great Google is a doll.

    I ended up back here through an image search on Jung. You have quite a sophisticated eye for photography! 😛

  8. I’ve missed something. The blog you linked to actually addresses what elephants the Carthaginians used (see comment 3): “… the Egyptians and Carthaginians probably used Atlas elephants, which are extinct, and I don’t think we know what the heck they were. It is quite possible that they were “Asian” but living in Africa.”

    I also find that post’s claim that African elephants can be domesticated strange. I was taught that only Asian elephants have been domesticated. Sub-Saharan Africans certainly weren’t using them in war against the Europeans in the nineteenth century. Jared Diamond, in ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’, spends a whole chapter arguing that every animal that can be domesticated has been domesticated. I’m very open to being corrected, but with all the information given I can only conclude that the African elephant has never been domesticated.

    Furthermore, this website of dubious reliability ([it’s at the end] http://www.sightseeinglanka.lk/Elephants.html) says “… extinct subspecies [of Asian elephants] are considered by some authorities to have existed …. The Syrian Elephant (E. m. asurus), the westernmost and the largest subspecies of the Asian Elephant, went extinct around 100 BC. This latter population, along with other Indian elephants, were considered the best war elephants in antiquity, and found superior to the smallish North African Elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaonensis) used by the armies of Carthage.”

    And I don’t understand how the African Forest Elephant, a species native to the rain forests of the Congo, could somehow make its way up across the Sahara desert to the Mediterranean climate of North Africa. It doesn’t seem logical.

    Hannibal, it seems to me, used some sort of Asian elephant subspecies. Why did you think that Hannibal used the African Forest Elephant?

    • I posted too soon (I always wish I could edit after I have posted…).

      Hannibal’s favorite elephant, according to yet another random internet source (please confirm!), was Surus… Which may mean ‘the Syrian’, or ‘one-tusker’. That elephant seems to be the largest of the elephants used, and it seems that it was the Asian Syrian subspecies.

      As to the rest of the elephants… It couldn’t have been the African Forest Elephant; as I said above, they have never been trained, and it seems impossible that could have traveled from the rain forest across the Sahara to the Mediterranean climate of Carthage. The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in prehistoric times did range across the whole of the Sahara (it wasn’t a desert yet, but it was no rain forest either). But it’s known to be even larger than Asian elephants… Meaning perhaps that Hannibal used an African subspecies. To repeat a selection from the quote above: “I don’t think we know what the heck [Hannibal’s elephants] were.”

    • The bit about Surus is easy to confirm: Polybius and/or Livy (I can’t recall) explicitly mentions that Hannibal was riding on him, the last survivor, in the Etruscan swamp on the way to Trasimene. (This is the swamp where Hannibal lost his one eye to an infection.)

      But that was just a name, Surus.

      Now that you’ve brought all this up, I really don’t know what to say anymore. The “experts” seem to agree that Hannibal used Forest Elephants. Perhaps there was no sahara when their ancestors made their way north to Tunisia?

  9. You’re right: the Sahara region wasn’t always a desert, and many species mainly considered as native to Sub-Sahara Africa have North African counterparts, including different subspecies of cheetahs, lions, and, probably, elephants. The fact that the Northwest African Cheetahs and the Barbary Lions diverged enough to warrant their own subspecies makes me think that the elephants Hannibal used were a subspecies in their own right as well (the Atlas elephants). Do you know why the experts think this was a subspecies of the African Forest Elephant, versus the African Bush Elephant or the Asian Elephant?

    • “Do you know why the experts think this was a subspecies of the African Forest Elephant, versus the African Bush Elephant or the Asian Elephant?”

      I don’t know, Luke. I suppose they felt that the simplest explanation is the most likely, and the simplest is that H took elephants that naturally lived near Carthage. But there’s no proof. As I said, it would be great — for so many reasons — if we found bones of his elephants in Italy. Then we’d have the DNA, and everything…

  10. Oh dear! i feel like an imposter myself. Could it be that the hush-hush reference was to me? Well, I am deep into Kistler’s War Elephants and delighted that Nossov (War Elephants) corroborates your latest thinking on the origin of the elephants Hannibal used. So research stage is where I am at. I first got to know about Hannibal from Bernard Levin’s Hannibal’s Footsteps and was spellbound by the sheer surrealism of elephants in the Alps. I then learnt about Hannibal’s motive and admired him for his filial honour. I then learnt about his skills as a tactician (or strategist?) and marvelled that he should still be the nemesis instruction in all military academies today. Where am I coming from in terms of wanting to take this story into children’s fiction? Adventure pure and simple, as already shown in one of GA Henty’s classics “The Young Carthaganian” it certainly is. In terms of success and failure, I have always thought of myself as a complete failure, so in the true British sense of championing the underdog, would hail Hannibal as a hero because he took on the Roman Empire at its own game, because he had to – not because he had any lust for power (He was a Hobbit, really -Lord of the Ring stuff). This makes him more noble. Of course, he is vilified for his means, but his ends made it impossible for him to carry through Maharbal’s criticism: “The gods have not given all their gifts to one man. You know how to win a victory, Hannibal, but you do not know how to use it.” He had not interest in it. Carthage was a trading nation, not an empire builder. In fact rather like America likes to think of itself!

    Obliquely through two themes – one moral (Beast and Man, by Mary Midgley: progressing beyond dominance through reconnecting with animals) and the other exploitation – on the use of animals as weapons of war (Animals in War, by Jilly Cooper), I am interested in anthropomorphism as a field through which to explore how animals are used as tools or deities to further human ends – or as projections (significant others): will to power or redemption from suffering (or just plain companionship!). I am sure that the animals – and elephants were not the only beasts to cross the Alps – in the Hannibal Quest have an interesting role to play in both guises – as weapons of war or symbolic deities offering transcendence/connectedness to the ‘other’. Horses have played a significant role in the exploration of the human psyche (Edwin Muir – The Horses, marvellous poem about the transmutational power of the horse), and elephants being equally social, sensitive, trainable, and intelligent have a similar attraction.

    I think I mentioned how Katie Grant set her story of the Crusades in the heart of a family whose love of a horse intersected with the plot to give a universal commentary on the contradictions inherent in religious warfare.

    So not too hush hush, I hope, but quietly doing background work. I am also very much looking forward to your book. I have also been distracted by discovering just how deep my American roots go so a little re-arranging of my identity is taking up some emotional energy.

    • Well, Margaret, since you have now outed yourself, let me amplify your idea with a trumpet blast. What a great book!

      I just hope you’ll check in here from time to time, when you have your title and cover jacket and what not, so that I can shout it out.

      “Anthropomorphism”: Wow, we will hear Hannibal’s story as told by … Surus? 😉

  11. This from the NYTimes 1984
    THE MYSTERY OF HANNIBAL’S ELEPHANTS
    By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
    Published: September 18, 1984

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    ARCHEOLOGISTS have tried. Students of ancient climate and ecology have tried, too. But no one has yet come up with a satisfactory answer: Where did Hannibal get the elephants for his heroic march across the Alps to attack the homeland of the Romans?

    The question was raised anew in the Sept. 6 issue of New Scientist, a British magazine. Derek Ager, a geologist, wrote an article casting doubt on all of the proposed sources of Hannibal’s elephants.

    Once there were elephants nearly everywhere, but by the time of Hannibal’s march in 218 B.C. they had already dwindled to the two species extant today, the Indian, or Asian, elephants and the African ones.

    If he had had a choice, Hannibal would presumably have gone into battle with Indian elephants, which had been used effectively a century before in charging against the forces of Alexander the Great. Indian elephants are not quite as large as the African species but much more easily trained, which is why they are favored by zoos and circuses. It is also the reason Indian elephants are seen tramping through fictional Africa in old Tarzan movies.

    The bigger and ill-tempered African elephants are distinguished by their larger, fan-shaped ears, flat foreheads and concave backs.

    But how did Hannibal, in Carthage, on the Mediterranean in present-day Tunisia, get a troop of elephants all the way from Asia? Or from south of the Sahara, the bush habitat of the larger African species?

    Elephants have a voracious appetite. Mr. Ager noted that an adult male African elephant eats some 400 pounds of vegetation a day. Even though the North African climate was slightly wetter then and the Sahara not quite so extensive, conditions were still not conducive to transporting hungry elephants.

    Historians speculate that a few small elephants could have been brought down the Nile Valley into Egypt, or by the Red Sea, and then bred in captivity, but there is apparently no record of this. Nor is there any record of the large African species being indigenous to North Africa in the time of Hannibal. Drawings of elephants appear on the Tassili Frescoes in the Hoggar Mountains of southern Algeria, but a recent British expedition determined that the drawings predated Hannibal.

    Many historians believe a likely source of Hannibal’s elephants could have been the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria. Living there at the time was a forest subspecies of the African elephants. These were smaller animals, standing about 8 feet tall at the shoulders in contrast to the 11-foot-tall sub-Saharan animals. The Atlas elephants later died out as the region grew increasingly arid.

    Presumably these animals would have been just as difficult to train and would have been less imposing in warfare. In ancient military campaigns elephants hauled supplies and served somewhat the same function as modern tanks.

    In his 1955 study, ”Alps and Elephants,” Gavin de Beer, who was director of the British Museum of Natural History, wrote, ”Not only did the elephants’ appearance, their smell, and the noise of their trumpeting alarm both men and horses opposed to them, but they were highly dangerous when charged, fighting with their tusks and their trunks and trampling down their opponents.”

    For these reasons, commenting on the small Atlas elephants, Mr. Ager said, ”I find the idea of Hannibal’s using small elephants unsatisfying.”

    By most accounts Hannibal’s invasion force in 218 B.C., assembled in Spain, included 100,000 men and 37 or 38 elephants. Mr. Ager notwithstanding, many historians tend to accept Mr. De Beer’s conclusion that most of these elephants were African, either from the Atlas Mountains or from south of the desert.

    The evidence is a Carthaginian coin, struck in the time of Hannibal, that bears an unmistakable image of an African elephant. Coins are often valuable to archeologists, and here it is about all historians have – a coin and a story told after the Second Punic War. Hannibal dealt the Romans under Scipio several crushing defeats but ultimately failed to seize Rome itself.

    Only one of the elephants survived the war, it seems. This was the elephant Hannibal himself had often ridden. Its name, according to the story, was Surus, meaning ”the Syrian.” Because the Ptolemies of Egypt, successors to Alexander, were known to have seized some Indian elephants as booty in their campaigns in Syria, it seemed likely that some descendants of those elephants had found their way to Carthage. Egypt and Carthage enjoyed good relations in those days. Mr. De Beer, citing the story of Surus, concluded, ”It is therefore almost certain that Hannibal’s elephants included at least one Indian.”

  12. Nobody knows which species of elephants Hannibal used, or where they came from.
    It is assumed that the north African forest elephants of the Atlas mountains were members of the species Loxodontis cyclotis, the African forest Elephant. But so far as I know no scientist has found DNA from bones of the North African forest elephant and identified it. As far as I know there are no bones or skeletons available to provide DNA or indicate the height.
    As far as I know it is assumed that the North African elephants were African forest elephants because they lived in the forests of the Atlas mountains like African forest elephants. But elephants are very adaptable and members of the same species can live in very different climates. During the last glacial period that lasted for many tens of thousands of years the Sahara was not a desert and many large animal species flourished there. That was many times as long as would be necessary for elephants to spread from west Africa, central Africa, and/or east Africa to the shores of the Mediterranean.
    Ancestors and relatives of modern Asian elephants lived in Africa before the African elephants evolved. Thus it is theoretically possible for the north African elephants to have been members of any of the three present species of elephants or some fourth species.
    In the time of Hannibal the Seleucid dynasty still ruled most of Iran. Thus the Seleucids could have obtained war elephants in India and walked them through the more fertile parts of Iran to Mesopotamia and Syria. Or they could have shipped them along the Iranian coast to the Persian Gulf to Mesopotamia.
    I have read a bit about when the Syrian sub species of elephant s became extinct and so I can say that I don’t know when it happened. Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II said in an inscription of about 865 BC: “…30 elephants I trapped and killed;…” So the Syrian elephants survived long after 1000 BC but it does not seem certain to be that they survived until 100 BC or 200 BC.
    It is possible that the Seleucid dynasty bred elephants in Syria. A female elephant and her calf were in one of the battles of Pyrrhus. Thus it is possible that the Seleucids had enough female elephants for a breeding program.
    The Ptolemies obtained their elephants from the Red Sea coast and from Eritrea, and genetic study of modern elephants in Eritrea shows they are African bush or savannah elephants and not the smaller forest elephants.
    So why did the smaller Asian elephants defeat the larger African elephants at the Battle of Raphie in 217 BC if they weren’t larger? Maybe since the 102 Asian elephants outnumbered the 73 by 1.39 times that was enough to give them the advantage. Maybe if Ptolemy and Antiochus knew that Antiochus had many more elephants Ptolemy took a lot of immature males and females to the battle to make up the numbers while Antiochus could afford to take only the bigger males and leave females and immature males behind. Maybe in 217 BC gigantic bull Asian elephants were a lot more common than today after 2,000 more years of hunting. Maybe Ptolemy’s hunters happened to catch elephants that came from a population of exceptionally small African elephants because of years of drought when they were growing up or genetics or something.
    Polybius does not actually say that Asian, specifically Indian, elephants in general were larger than African elephants, although he probably believed that myth. He does say most of the African elephants declined to fight the Asian elephants. Possibly the mahouts of the Africans were timid, perhaps because of anti mahout tactics of the Seleucid forces. Or possibly the African elephants were frightened not by the Asian elephants but because of elephant-scaring tactics used by the Seleucid forces that they had conditioned their own elephants to ignore.
    Polybius does say that as a general rule African elephants are afraid of the sight and smell and trumpeting of Indian elephants. This is probably untrue considering how often they mingle in circuses, etc. But all it would take to stampede most of Ptolemy’s elephants would be for one of them to be frightened by the strange Asian elephants and communicate the panic to most of the others.
    Polybius does say that he supposes the African elephants were terrified by the great size and strength of the Indian elephants. That does not literally mean that Polybius supposed the Indian elephants were larger – though he probably did – but literally means that Polybius supposed that the Indian elephants were large and strong enough to frighten the African elephants. A large elephant may find it easy to obey a command to pick up a man or a horse or an ox and toss it to its doom, or to kill a puny little rhino, but it might be a little reluctant to fight someone its own size or even a little smaller. Attacking someone who weighs 90 percent or 80 percent as much as oneself might seem too much like a fair fight, and thus too dangerous, to a partially trained elephant whose mahout might not have the elephant’s total confidence and obedience.
    In the sixth century AD Byzantine envoys to the Axumite king of kings described him having a chariot pulled by elephants. A later Auxumite ruler invaded south Arabia. His viceroy revolted and made himself king of South Arabia and according to legend invaded Mecca with an army including one or more elephants. So either those trained elephants were imported thousands of miles by sea from India or they were trained African elephants.
    I often read in these discussions that African elephants can’t be tamed or trained. But it is now illegal to transport endangered Asian elephants internationally, which means that more and more circus and zoo elephants are African.
    And if you google “Tame African Elephants”
    https://www.google.com/search?q=tame+African+elephants&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiwl7bovPjVAhVI0oMKHfHMBucQ_AUICigB&biw=1138&bih=768&dpr=1.13
    Or “African elephants interacting with children”
    https://www.google.com/search?q=African+elephants+interacting+with+children&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8tOTJvfjVAhXD5YMKHQh9ARYQ_AUICigB&biw=1138&bih=768&dpr=1.13
    You will see many photos that show that African elephants of both species can be tamed and/or trained.
    Thus I hope that I have shown that nobody has proven where Hannibal’s elephants came from, tha ttheir sources are still an open question.

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