Sebas pickled elephant
African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) at
Africa unspecified location in Africa unspecified country

dead elephant ☨ ♂ Sebas pickled elephant  dead elephant
Sebas pickled elephant displayed as museum specimen.
Sebas pickled elephant as museum specimen. This image is inline deepink from an external server, inline linking does not directly infringe copyright but can be removed on request.
Taxidermy locationSwedish Museum of Natural History (NRM), Stockholm, Sweden


Museum accession number NRM 532062


Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Male ♂, unknown age
Born:* <1753 wild
Birth place: in Africa unspecified location
Dead: <1753
Death location: Africa unspecified location
Death reason: Fetal death in utero: removed from dead mothers uterus?
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Africa unspecified location, in Africa unspecified country

Date of arrival

Africa unspecified location
Record history
History of updates2020-10-22

Latest document update2023-08-30 13:52:20
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† Sebas pickled elephant is a dead Male ♂ African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), , who died <1753 at Africa unspecified location, in Africa unspecified country, . Official death reason described as removed from dead mothers uterus?.

Museum locationThe Museum specimen remains of this animal is within the collection at Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM), in Stockholm, Sweden.

Affiliated people

1: Carl Linnaeus (taxonomist from 1753 to 1753)


Sebas pickled elephant was born wild <1753 at Africa unspecified location.

Comments / pictures

Carl Linnaeus could hardly contain his excitement over his latest acquisition. “I am pleased that the little elephant has arrived. If he costs a lot, he was worth it. Certainly, he is as rare as a diamond,” the founding father of modern Taxonomy wrote in a letter to a friend on 18 May 1753. Linnaeus dubbed the Species Elephas maximus, which is now commonly known as the Asian elephant, and listed the elephant’s origin, or locality, as Zeylonae paludosis, or Ceylon, the island now called Sri Lanka. Whether or not Linnaeus knew its origin, his pickled pachyderm was cemented as the archetype for the Asian elephant.

Beginning in the 1800s, after the fetus was moved from the royal palace outside Stockholm to the building that became the Swedish Natural History Museum, curators there began to wonder whether their prized holding was mislabelled.

Later researchers enlisted Tom Gilbert to identify the species, an ancient-DNA expert at the University of Copenhagen, but he failed, even using what was then the world’s most advanced DNA sequencing technology.

Enrico Cappellini, a protein chemist, From a bit of oesophagus, Cappellini and Gilbert detected one protein that differed, by a single amino acid, between the two Species. The protein was a portion of the haemoglobin complex that carries oxygen in red blood cells. In Asian elephants, the amino acid is aspartate, whereas in African elephants it is glutamate. Cappellini’s tests confirmed that Linnaeus’s elephant encoded glutamate. Mystery solved: the fetus that Linnaeus had taken as the archetype of the Asian elephant was, in fact, an African elephant.

Ewen Callaway

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2013-11-04 Linnaeus's asian elephant was wrong species - Elephant News

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). Sebas pickled elephant, African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) located at Africa unspecified location in Africa unspecified country. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 25 July 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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Categories<175 deaths | Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM) Taxidermy | <175 births | Born in Unknown | Elephants from Africa unspecified location | Africa unspecified country | African savanna elephants

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