Ancient elephants of Turkmenistan – where it is possible to see

Ancient elephants of Turkmenistan – where it is possible to see

Where it is possible to see a Khazarian elephant and whether it is an invention what in the territory of Turkmenistan those large mammals lived in the ancient time? In 1943 to the north from the depression of Hudaydag, 40 kilometres to the west of Balkanabat, the Turkmen elephant, to be more exact, its remains for the first time were found.

A Part of lower mandibular tooth and fragments of some bones of the elephant, found by palaeontologist Peter Fyodorov, suggested an idea to the researcher, about possibility to find in these parts elephant skull. As a result of research works, after some years, a skull and some bones of a prehistoric elephant were indeed found in the given district.

Scientific comparison of remains of the mammal with other fossil elephants has led to a conclusion that this elephant lived only in the territory of Turkmenistan. The restored skull and bones of Palaeoloxdon turkmenicus «ancient Turkmen elephant» are stored now in the exposition of the museum of Institute of Zoology of the Russian Academy of Sciences which is located in St.-Petersburg.

In Ashkhabad in the department of ethnography and local lore of the State Museum of the State Culture Centre of Turkmenistan the find is displayed « fresher».

In 2008 on the peninsula Cheleken (Khazar), on the shore of the Caspian Sea palaeontologist Aman Nigarov discovered again a skull and a part of the bottom jaw of a Turkmen elephant. During researches it was found out that the Turkmen elephant with direct tusks, height about 4,5 metres, lived herds in woods, on banks of rivers and lakes, ate stalks and leaves of trees.

Environment promoted occurrence in the territory of Turkmenistan a new endemic specie of proboscideans. Numerous herds lived in the valley of the ancient river. And in 1989 on the right bank of the Amu Darya, to the north of the ridge of Sakyrtma, the lower mandibular tooth of the elephant was unearthed. This interesting find has allowed establishing existence of a steppe Khazarian elephant in the territory of Turkmenistan.

Large, undersized elephant Mammuthus chozarius lived in Turkmenistan on the open landscape. From foothills of the Koytendag – in the east, to the Caspian Sea – in the west, there also lived the herbivorous animal feeding on foliage and branches of bushes.

In the exposition of the department of ethnography and local lore of the State Museum of the State Culture Centre, in the section «Life evolution on the earth» the exhibits testifying to existence of elephants in the territory of Turkmenistan in the ancient time are presented. Also in 2016 the book «Ancient elephants of Turkmenistan» in Turkmen, Russian and English languages was published.

So elephants here unequivocally lived, but the ecological changes caused by turn of the channel of the historical river, leading to the death and also their migration to other regions.

Selbi CHARYEVA

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