The elephant's closest relative is the rock hyrax
We know elephants are unique, but it might surprise you to learn that the elephant's closest living relative is the rock hyrax, a small, furry herbivore native to Africa and the Middle East. Manatees and dugongs are also closely related to the elephant. (And you thought you had a weird family.)
The manatee, the rock hyrax and the elephant share a common ancestor, Tethytheria, which died out more than 50 million years ago. That's been long enough for the animals to travel down very different evolutionary paths. Though they look and act radically different, they remain closely related.
Despite initial appearances, hyraxes still have a few physical traits in common with elephants. These include tusks that grow from their incisor teeth (versus most mammals, which develop tusks from their canine teeth), flattened nails on the tips of their digits, and several similarities among their reproductive organs.