Macroscelidea or elephant shrews and jumping shrews, is a order of small insectivorous mammals native to Africa, belonging to the family Macroscelididae, in the order Macroscelidea, whose traditional common English name comes from a fancied resemblance between their long noses and the trunk of an elephant, and an assumed relationship with the shrews (Soricidae) in the order Insectivora. Nonetheless, elephant shrews are not classified with the superficially similar true shrews, but are ironically more closely related to elephants and their kin within the newly recognized Afrotheria; the biologist Jonathan Kingdon has proposed they instead be called sengis, a term derived from the Bantu languages of Africa.
They are widely distributed across the southern part of Africa, and although common nowhere, can be found in almost any type of habitat, from the Namib Desert to boulder-strewn outcrops in South Africa to thick forest. One species, the North African elephant shrew (Elephantulus rozeti), remains in the semiarid, mountainous country in the far northwest of the continent.
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