The corrected first proof of Pygmy Elephants is at the publishers as I write, I'm expecting the second proof soon. Meanwhile, I'm getting the index ready, and putting together the text for the back cover. I've got a zoology graduate on standby to quickly read the second proof once I've finished with it. Here's the front cover already.
For reasons too complicated to go into, the photos below won't make the final version of the book. Here they are anyway.
All images copyright Matt Salusbury, cover image copyright Matt Salusbury, drawing based on a photo copyright Sali Palode, used with his permission
Reconstruction of a stegodon (relative of an elephant) - approx 3.7 metres at the shoulder in life
Phiomia (skull, left at the top and reconstruction, right at the top) and Gomphotherium (skull immediately above, reconstruction right).
The description of M. Le Petit's "water elephant" - an alleged pygmy elephant which Le Petit claims to have seen in 1910 along the Temba-Mayi River in 'the Congo' has uncanny similarities to two very ancient prehistoric elephant ancestors - Phiomia and Gomphoterium. Both had an elongated head and a short trunk. However, they would need to have survived not just a few million years but tens of millions of years to still be around in the early twentieth century Congo. And while Phiomia was found in Egypt, Gomphoterium was a continent away in North America. And they both had distinctive and visible tusks in their lower jaws, which Le Petit doesn't mention. Phiomia was 1.4 metres tall, Gomphoterium was over two metres. Shown are scale models and their skulls. You'll have to read Pygmy Elephants for more on M. Le Petit's water elephants.
Adult bull Asian elephant on the left, adult bull African elephant on the right, with male African elephant calf, showing their sizes for comparison.