随着近代分子技术在研究进化关系过程中的使用，除了传统的形态学方法，已经证实象鼩代表着一个古老的单源非洲物种。 目前大多数的生物学家将象鼩归属到一个新的种群中，即非洲兽总目（Afrotheria），包括一些其他独特的非洲种群和分支。 非洲兽总目包括：非洲象、海牛、蹄兔、土豚（非洲食蚁兽）、象鼩、黄金鼹鼠和马达加斯加刺猬。
(Hedges 2001; Springer et al. 2004; Seiffert 2007).
Few mammals have had a more colorful history of misunderstood ancestry than the elephant-shrews, or sengis. Most species were first described by Western scientists in the mid to late 19th century, when they were considered closely related to true shrews, hedgehogs, and moles in the order Insectivora. Since then, there has been an increasing realization that they are not closely related to any other group of living mammals, resulting in biologists mistakenly associating them with ungulates, primates, and rabbits. The recent use of molecular techniques to study evolutionary relationships, in addition to the more traditional morphological methods, has confirmed that elephant-shrews represent an ancient monophyletic African radiation. Most biologists currently include the elephant-shrews in a new supercohort, the Afrotheria, which encompasses several other distinctive African groups or clades. These include elephants, sea cows, and hyraxes (the Paenungulata); the aardvark and elephant-shrews, and the golden-moles and tenrecs (Hedges 2001; Springer et al. 2004; Seiffert 2007).原文链接(original link)
现存象鼩有20个种类，虽然可能会增加一些新的种类描述(Rathbun 2009; Andanje et al. 2010)，但它们的分类几乎是明确的(Corbet and Hanks 1968; Rovero, Rathbun, et al., 2008; Smit et al. 2008; Dumbacher et al. 2014)。
北非象鼩E. rozeti （Dumbacher et al., 2016）在中新世(大约2300万年前)时期更多样化，当时还有另外的4个科存在(Holroyd 2010)。 北非象鼩最新发现的化石标本也证实了这个观点。(Grossman and Holroyd 2009; Tabuce et al., 2012)
一些已经灭绝的象鼩被发现拥有与现存蹄兔非常相似的齿列，因此最初被描述为蹄兔。(Patterson 1965, Butler 1995)
象鼩是非洲特有的物种，它们分布在除了非洲西部和广阔的沙哈拉之外的整个非洲大陆。非洲南部和东部是多样化的中心。大多种类集中在非洲南部和东部。(Corbet and Hanks 1968; Rathbun 2009)
The 20 living species of sengis are well-defined, and their taxonomy is considered nearly definitive (Corbet and Hanks 1968; Rovero, Rathbun, et al., 2008; Smit et al. 2008; Dumbacher et al. 2014), although a few additional new species might be described (Rathbun 2009; Andanje et al. 2010). All living species are in a single family with two subfamilies. The giant elephant-shrews include the genus Rhynchocyon with four species, and the soft-furred elephant-shrews include four genera. Petrodromus is monospecific, Macroscelides has three species, and Elephantulus contains 10 species. The genus Petrosaltator has been created for E. rozeti (Dumbacher et al., 2016) Elephant-shrews were much more diverse during the Miocene period (about 23 million years ago), when an additional four families existed (Holroyd 2010). New fossil forms are also being described (Grossman and Holroyd 2009; Tabuce et al., 2012). Some extinct forms had herbivorous-style teeth that were so similar to the dentition found in living hyraxes that they were first described as hyraxes (Patterson 1965, Butler 1995). The common name "sengi" is being used in place of elephant-shrew by many biologists to try and disassociate the Macroscelidea from the true shrews (family Soricidae) in the order Eulipotyphla (Insectivora).
Sengis are restricted to Africa, and are distributed throughout the continent with the exception of western Africa and the vast Sahara region (Corbet and Hanks 1968; Rathbun 2009). Southern and eastern Africa are centers of diversity. Macroscelides is only found in southwestern Africa, and the greatest number of Elephantulus species occur in southern Africa, followed by eastern Africa. Rhynchocyon only occurs in central and eastern Africa. Petrodromus is among the most widespread. Petrosaltatorrozeti is found only along the northwestern edge of the continent, separated from all other sengis by the Sahara.
英文名：Face-washing rufous sengi
体型最小的是褐足象鼩。(Corbet and Hanks 1968)。
大部分的象鼩都是小窝生产并且天性早熟，除了东非象鼩(Rhynchocyon)的幼仔需要哺育一段时间。(Rathbun 1979, Neal 1995)
相对较长的消化道包括盲肠。(Spinks and Perrin, 1995)
生殖道的几个特征是不同的，包括发情周期、多排卵 (Horst 1946, Tripp 1971)。
Rhynchocyon includes the largest and most colorful sengis (see Photographic Gallery). Adults weigh 350-700 g, with head/body and tail lengths up to 310 mm and 250 mm, respectively. The soft-furred species have similar body proportions, but range from about 25 g for Macroscelides to about 200 g for Petrodromus. Species of Elephantulus are 50-60 g. The smaller species are shades of brown and gray (Corbet and Hanks 1968). Most sengi species are born precocial in small litters, although Rhynchocyon young are more altricial (Rathbun 1979, Neal 1995). The long limb bones are adapted for cursorial locomotion (Evans 1942). Some features of sengi tails provide insights into their biology. The relatively long digestive tract includes a caecum (Spinks and Perrin, 1995). Several features of the reproductive tract are distinctive, including the estrus cycle, polyovulation (Horst 1946, Tripp 1971), abdominal testes, and the structure of the penis (Woodall 1995).原文链接(original link)
象鼩有着和大部分哺乳动物类似的代谢率。然而其中的一些物种能够改变它们的生理机能以适应极端环境 (Perrin 1995a)。
例如有些物种在遭遇低温时会出现生理机能放缓(Lovegrove et al. 2001)。
它们的消化生理机能与其他小型食虫类哺乳动物非常相似(Woodall and Currie 1989)，尽管它们可能有着食草类的祖先。
Sengi metabolic rates are typical of most mammals of similar size. However, several species are able to alter their physiology to meet environmental extremes (Perrin 1995a). For example, some species exhibit torpor when they encounter low temperatures (Lovegrove et al. 2001). Their digestive physiology is similar to that of other insectivorous small mammals (Woodall and Currie 1989), despite their likely herbivorous ancestry.原文链接(original link)
几乎在所有情况下，象鼩跟其他小型哺乳动物相比，它们的分布密度低(FitzGibbon 1995, Perrin 1995b)。
所有的象鼩都会捕食无脊椎动物，不过大部分的软毛类的物种还会以小野果，种子和绿色植物作为补充食物(Rathbun 1979, Kerley 1995)。
蛇、猛禽和食肉动物被认为是象鼩的天敌。象鼩是多种的寄生虫的宿主(Fourie et al. 1995)。
Rhynchoycon and Petrodromus are largely confined to lowland and montane forests and dense woodlands, while Elephantulus and Macroscelides are found in more arid lowlands, such as savannahs, scrublands, rocky outcrops, and deserts (Rathbun 2009). In nearly all cases, sengis are found in low densities compared to many other small mammals (FitzGibbon 1995, Perrin 1995b). At low latitudes reproduction is continuous, but at higher latitudes it is seasonal (Neal 1995). All sengis prey on invertebrates, although most soft-furred species supplement this diet with small fruits, seeds, and green plant matter (Rathbun 1979, Kerley 1995). Snakes, raptors, and carnivores are known predators of sengis. A wide variety of parasites are hosted by macroscelids (Fourie et al. 1995).原文链接(original link)
对四种典型象鼩的实地研究已经完成(Sauer 1973, Rathbun 1979, FitzGibbon 1995; Schubert et al. 2009; Oxenham and Perrin 2009)。
最近的实地研究表明，象鼩实行一夫一妻制，对于入侵者，它们采取针对性别的共同守护领地（雄性对战雄性，雌性对战雌性），不过这种观点并不一定适用于所有的种类(Rathbun and Dumbacher, 2014)。
Field studies of representatives of four genera have been completed (Sauer 1973, Rathbun 1979, FitzGibbon 1995; Schubert et al. 2009; Oxenham and Perrin 2009). Monogamous pairs defend congruent territories sex-specifically (males vs. males and females vs. females), although this view may not be true for all species, given recent field studies (Rathbun and Dumbacher, 2014). The giant sengis are strictly diurnal, while the soft-furred species are often crepuscular, with some activity during both day and night. Sengis have well-developed senses of sight, hearing, and smell. Most scent mark their territories with perianal, sternal, subcaudal, or foot glands. Although vocalizations are not common, many species frequently foot drum or tail slap the substrate in stressful situations. Rhynchocyon builds leaf nests on the forest floor, while most soft-furred species use burrows of other species, or construct their own. Some species maintain complicated trail systems through leaf-litter, and several have specialized sheltering habits, such as rock crevices in boulder fields, or relatively exposed spots on runs at the base of bushes.原文链接(original link)
在过去的20多年里，随着对象鼩习性的了解越来越多，已经成功的针对几种软毛象鼩的实现了驯养和繁殖。此项成功为圈养动物的研究提供了更多的可持续性研究(Perrin 1995b; Olbricht 2008)。
只有Petrodromus在圈养的条件下不会繁殖(Tripp 1971, Nicoll and Rathbun 1990)，尽管它们相对来比较容易维护。
In the past 20 years, with increasing knowledge of their natural history, several soft-furred sengis have been successfully kept and bred in captivity. These successes have resulted in increased research on captive animals (Perrin 1995b; Olbricht 2008). Although Rhynchocyon is difficult to maintain, it has recently been bred in captivity. Only Petrodromus has not reproduced in captivity (Tripp 1971, Nicoll and Rathbun 1990), even though it is relatively easy to maintain.原文链接(original link)
虽然checkered sengi (R. cirnei) 和 black and rufous sengi (R. petersi)象鼩已经被列入“无危动物”，但这仅仅是因为归类的协议不够灵活的结果。
On the 2016 IUCN Red List of mammals, most of the 19 sengis are considered "Least Concern", but three species of Elephantulus are listed as "Data Deficient" and two species of giant sengis are at risk. The golden-rumped sengi (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus) is "endangered" and the gray-faced sengi (R. udzungwensis) is "vulnerable". Although the checkered sengi (R. cirnei) and black and rufous sengi (R. petersi) have been down-listed to "least concern", which is the result of inflexibility in the listing protocols. The status of all Rhynchocyon are of concern because they occur in restricted or fragmented forest habitats (Nicoll and Rathbun 1990) that are being heavily impacted by logging practices and clearing for agricultural and urban development (Rathbun and Kyalo 2000). Subsistence hunting for food may also be a problem in some areas.原文链接(original link)
对象鼩这个物种生物特性更详尽的描述最近已经出版了(Rathbun 2009)，化石的形式可以在 (Holroyd 2010)中找到。
更多关于象鼩的更详尽的描述，可以在《Handbook of the Mammals of the World - Volume 8》这本书中找到。
A more detailed summary of the biology of extant sengis has been recently published (Rathbun 2009), and a review of fossil forms can be found in (Holroyd 2010). A more comprehensive review of sengi natural history can be found in Heritage, S. 2018. Macroscelidea. Pp. 206-234 in Wilson, D.E. and R. A. Mittermeier (eds.). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 8, Insectivores, Sloths and Colugos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.原文链接(original link)
Andanje, S., B. R. Agwanda, G. W. Ngaruiya, R. Amin, and G. B. Rathbun. 2010. Sengi (elephant-shrew) observations from northern coastal Kenya. Journal of East African Natural History 99:1-8.
Butler, P. M. 1995. Fossil Macroscelidea. Mammal Review 25:3-14.
Corbet, G. B., and J. Hanks. 1968. A revision of the elephant-shrews, Family Macroscelididae [14.4 MB PDF]. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology 16:47-111.
Douady, C. J., F. Catzeflis, J. Raman, M. S. Springer, and M. J. Stanhope. 2003. The Sahara as a vicariant agent, and the role of Miocene climatic events, in the diversification of the mammalian order Macroscelidea (elephant shrews). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 100:8325-8330.
Dumbacher, J. P., E. J. Carlen, and G. B. Rathbun. 2016. Petrosaltator gen. nov., a new genus replacement for the North African sengi Elephantulus rozeti (Macroscelidea; Macroscelididae). Zootaxa 4136:567-579.
Dumbacher, J. P., G. B. Rathbun, T. O. Osborne, M. Griffin, and S. J. Eiseb. 2014. A new species of round-eared sengi (genus Macroscelides) from Namibia. Journal of Mammalogy 95:443-454.
Evans, F.G. 1942. The osteology and relationships of the elephant-shrews (Macrosclididae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 80:85-125.
FitzGibbon, C. D. 1995. Comparative ecology of two elephant-shrew species in a Kenyan coastal forest. Mammal Review 25:19-30.
Fourie, L. J., J. S. Du Toit, D. J. Kok, and I. G. Horak. 1995. Arthropod parasites of elephant-shrews, with particular reference to ticks. Mammal Review 25:31-37.
Grossman, A., and P. A. Holroyd. 2009. Miosengi butleri, gen. et sp. nov., (Marcoscelidea) from the Kalodirr Member, Lothidok Formation, early Miocene of Kenya. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29:957-960.
Hedges, S. B. 2001. Afrotheria: Plate tectonics meets genomics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98:1-2.
Holroyd, P.A. 2010. Macroscelidea. In Sanders, W.J. and Werdelin, L. (eds.), Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, USA.
Horst, C. J. van der. 1946. Some remarks on the biology of reproduction in the female of Elephantulus, the holy animal of set. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 31:181-199.
Kerley, G.I.H. 1995. The round-eared elephant-shrew (Macroscelides proboscideus) as an omnivore. Mammal Review 25:39-44.
Lovegrove, B.G., J. Raman, and M.R. Perrin. 2001. Daily torpor in elephant shrews (Macroscelidae: Elephantulus spp.) in response to food deprivation. Journal of Comparitive Physiology Series B 171:11-21.
Neal, B.R. 1995. The ecology and reproduction of the short-nosed elephant-shrew, Elephantulus brachyrhynchus, in Zimbabwe with a review of the reproductive ecology of the genus Elephantulus. Mammal Review 25:51-60.
Nicoll, M. E., and G. B. Rathbun. 1990. African Insectivora and Elephant-shrews, an Action Plan for their Conservation [20 MB PDF]. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland.
Olbricht, G. 2008. Aspects of the reproductive biology of sengis (Macroscelidea) in general and the postnatal development of the short-eared sengi (Macroscelides proboscideus) in particular. Dissertation. University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany.
Oxenham, K. H., and M. Perrin. 2009. The spatial organization of the four-toed elephant-shrew (Petrodromus tetradactylus) in Tembe Elephant Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. African Zoology 44:171-180.
Perrin, M.R. 1995a. Comparative aspects of the metabolism and thermal biology of elephant-shrews (Macroscelidea). Mammal Review 25:61-78.
Perrin, M. R. (editor). 1995b. The Biology of Elephant-shrews - A Symposium Held During the 6th International Theriological Congress, Sydney, 5 July 1993. Mammal Review, Vol. 25, No. 1 and 2. 100 pp.
Patterson, B. 1965. The fossil elephant-shrews (Family Macroscelididae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 133:295-335.
Rathbun, G. B. 1979. The social structure and ecology of elephant-shrews [21 MB PDF file]. Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie Suppl. 20:1-77.
Rathbun, G. B. 2009. Why is there discordant diversity in sengi (Mammalia: Afrotheria: Macroscelidea) taxonomy and ecology? African Journal of Ecology 47:1-13.
Rathbun, G. B., and J. P. Dumbacher. 2015. Home range and use of diurnal shelters by the Etendeka round-eared sengi, a newly discovered Namibian endemic desert mammal. PeerJ 3:e1302:1-22.
Rathbun, G.B. and S. Kyalo. 2000. Golden-rumped elepant-shrew. Pp 125-129, 340-341 in R.P. Reading and B.J. Miller (eds.). Endangered animals -- conflicting issues. Greeenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut. 388 pp.
Rovero, F., G. B. Rathbun, A. Perkin, T. Jones, D. O. Ribble, C. Leonard, R. R. Mwakisoma, and N. Doggart. 2008. A new species of giant sengi or elephant-shrew (genus Rhynchocyon) highlights the exceptional biodiversity of the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. Journal of Zoology 274:126-133
Sauer, E. G. F. 1973. Zum sozialverhalten der kurzohrigen elefantenspitzmaus, Macroscelides proboscideus. Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde 38:65-97.
Schubert, M., C. Schradin, H. G. Rodel, N. Pillay, and D. Ribble. 2009. Male mate guarding in a socially monogamous mammal, the round-eared sengi: on costs and trade-offs. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 64:257-264.
Seiffert, E. R. 2007. A new estimate of afrotherian phylogeny based on simultaneous analysis of genomic, morphological, and fossil evidence. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7:224:13 pp.
Smit, H. A., T. J. Robinson, J. Watson, and B. Jansen van Vuuren. 2008. A new species of elephant-shrew (Afrotheria: Macroscelidea: Elephantulus) from South Africa. Journal of Mammalogy 89:1257-1269.
Spinks, A. C., and M. R. Perrin. 1995. The digestive tract of Macroscelides proboscideus and the effects of diet quality on gut dimensions. South African Journal of Zoology 30:33-36.
Springer, M. S., M. J. Stanhope, O. Madsen, and W. W. De Jong. 2004. Molecules consolidate the placental mammal tree. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:430-438.
Tabuce, R., J. Jaeger, L. Marivaux, M. Salem, A. A. Bilal, M. Benammi, Y. Chaimanee, P. Coster, B. Marandat, X. Valentin, and M. Brunet. 2012. New stem elephant-shrews (Mammalia, Macroscedlidea) from the Eocene of Dur At-Talah, Libya. Palaeontology 55:945-955.
Tripp, H.R.H. 1971. Reproduction in elephant-shrews (Macroscelididae) with special reference to ovulation and implantation. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility 26:149-159.
Woodall, P. F. 1995. The male reproductive system and the phylogeny of elephant-shrews (Macroscelidea). Mammal Review 25:87-93.
Woodall, P. F., and G. J. Currie. 1989. Food consumption, assimilation and rate of food passage in the Cape Rock Elephant Shrew, Elephantulus edwardii (Macroscelidea, Macroscelidinae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 92A:75-79.