Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Maximum longevity: 65.5 years (captivity) Observations: Elephants are long-lived mammals but suffer from teeth erosion as a type of mechanical senescence despite having as much as six sets of molars in a lifetime. Although both sexes may become sexually mature at about 9 years of age, males do not normally reproduce until they are about 15 years old. Full size is attained at about 17 years of age (Ronald Nowak 1999). There is much speculation and anecdotes about the longevity of elephants with reports of animals living more than 80 years. In particular, it has been reported that a male elephant called "Lin Wang" died at the age of 86 in Taipei Zoo (Wiese and Willis 2004). This record is unconfirmed, however, because the animal was estimated to be 26 when it was obtained, which is impossible to verify. Other reports of animals living over 70 years are plausible but have not yet been verified. Therefore, the oldest elephant on record was probably a wild born female that was about 65-66 years when she died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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