So they investigated the possibility of “smaller” African elephants, but never considered the possibility of “larger” Asian elephants? Elephants were used widely in battles in India; what if all the really big Asian elephants have been wiped out over time from being killed in battles (and thus the genetics for “big asian elephant” removed from the gene pool), so all that are left are what we see today? There’s already evidence that elephants as a population have smaller tusks than their ancestors, simply because those with the genes for big tusks were so efficiently hunted that not enough of them survived to pass their genes along.
I hit post before finishing my thought. Bleh. So if the elephant population can change (smaller tusks) in such a short time, there’s no reason to think that a similar change regarding size couldn’t also take place.
There are stories in India that the elephants here used to be bigger than they are now.