There are between 326 and 351 bones in the African elephant's skeleton. It has a total of 61 vertebrae, and its bones are thin and are easily fractured.

The African elephant has 21 ribs and its vertebrae are held together by tight joints. The skull is tough enough to withstand head smashing, as well as whatever leverage it can achieve using its tusks. The skull also contains air cavities that lighten the skull to maintain overall strength. The bones make up about 12 to 15 percent of the elephant's body weight. The bones in its limbs are spongy and have no marrow cavity. The African elephant's neck is almost horizontal due to its double spine. This helps to bear the weight of its large tusks.