Moeritherium is a genus of extinct mammals related to elephants
and sea cows - it is not however believed to be an ancestor of modern elephants,
but rather to be part of a branch that subsequently died out.
It lived during the late Eocene epoch, between 37 and
and 35 million yers ago.
Moeritherium was about 10 feet (3 meters) long, but only about 2 feet (70 centimeters)
high at the shoulder. It did not possess a trunk like elephant, although it
may have a flexible upper lip that could grasp vegetation. Its incisor
teeth were formed into tusks, but these would have resembled the teeth of
a hippopotamus, rather than the tusks of an elephant.
Moeritherium is believed to have lived in swamps and rivers, leading a similar
lifestyle to the modern hippopotamus.
Fossils of the animal have so
far been found in
and other parts of North and West Africa.
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