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Dwarf Elephant (aka Palaeoloxodon falconeri, P. cypriotes, & Mammuthus creticus)

27.5" x 20"

Acrylic paint, water-based paint pen, and ink pen on paper



I ran across the dwarf elephant (not to be confused with the Pygmy Elephant, which is still alive today and is a sort of Asian elephant) while researching mythology actually. Turns out, the skulls of these guys might have been the reason we have the cyclops myth because they have a giant hole in the center of the forehead where their trunk attached, and it could have been confused for a gargantuan eye socket. Combine that with short tusks, and you have a giant man-creature with sharp teeth and one menacing eye.

The real creature was just as intriguing as the myth it spawned. These elephants started off as three different kinds of giant elephants as listed in the title. Some of them managed to get stranded on islands, like Crete, and had to adapt over time to fit their tight space. So they shrank over many generations! This process is known as insular dwarfism, and happens to any species that finds itself trapped on an island that it is really too big for.

That green-blue expanse in the bottom of the painting is my loose interpretation of the Mediterranean Sea where these little elephants were stuck. The test tube references a creepy theme underlying my Gone By series--that of de-extinction.