The estimation of population densities or numbers is important for framing suitable policy measures for the management and conservation of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Estimates of Asian elephant population by statistically robust methods are available only for a few locations in the country (Karanth and Sunquist 1992, Varman and Sukumar 1995).
The order Proboscidea includes extant elephants and their extinct relatives and is closely related to the aquatic sirenians (manatees and dugongs) and terrestrial hyracoids (hyraxes). Some analyses of embryological, morphological, and paleontological data suggest that proboscideans and sirenians shared an aquatic or semiaquatic common ancestor, but independent tests of this hypothesis have proven elusive.
The African elephant reproduces so efficiently in the wild that overpopulation is now a serious problem in some game parks in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The female reaches puberty between 10 and 12 years of age in the wild and, when in captivity, shows oestrous cycles of 14-15 weeks duration. She readily conceives a singleton in the wild yet her uterus has the capacity for twins. She shows a gestation length of 22 months and, in the wild, shows a population density and feed dependent intercalving interval of 4-8 years.
The jaws of herbivorous mammals are characterized by their large occlusal surface of the molar; high crown of the molar; long snout; etc. However, elephants, the biggest herbivorous mammal, have other characteristics. In the evolutionary trends of proboscidean skulls, concomitant with the increase in tusk size comes on the enlargement, antero-posterior shortening, dorso-ventral elongation of the cranium with increasing cheek teeth size. Naturally, the jaw follows the same evolutionary trends as the cranium
The diversity of placental structures in Eutherian mammals is such that drawing generalizations from the definitive forms is problematic. There are always areas of reduced interhaemal distance whether the placenta is epitheliochorial, synepitheliochorial, endotheliochorial or haemochorial. However, the thinning may be achieved by different means.