Reconstruction of Mammut americanum, copyright James St. John.

Belongs within: Pan-Paenungulata.
Contains: Deinotheriidae, Elephantida.

The Proboscidea include the elephants and their fossil relatives. The earliest proboscideans are known from the early Eocene, and were superficially tapir-like animals. Members of the basal Barytherioidea (including Moeritherium) had bilophodont molars; the molars became trilophodont in the Deinotheriidae and Elephantiformes (Sanders et al. 2004). Modification of the upper second incisors into large tusks is characteristic of the Elephantiformes; basal forms have similarly tusk-like lower first incisors (Tassy & Shoshani 1988).

Characters (from Tassy & Shoshani 1988): Orbitotemporal fossa without processus ascendens of palatine; jugal reduced anteriorly, orbit opening in maxilla; jugal lengthened posteriorly to rear border of glenoid fossa of squamosal; condyloid foramen absent; optic foramen and fissura sphenorbitale on same line under crista orbitotemporalis of orbitotemporal fossa. Metacone on P4; upper molars with paracone and metacone transversely thickened and subdivided, paraconule touching precingulum, protocone with postprotocone crest; M1-2 with distocrista; lower molars with metaconid and entoconid transversely thickened, hypolophid as high as protolophid, hypoconulid developed labially, postentoconulid outlined. Astragalus with enlarged lateral calcaneal facet and protruding tuberculum mediale.

    |  i. s.: Arcanotherium savagei JB10
    |--Barytherioidea [Barypoda] SKR04
    |    |  i. s.: Daouitherium SKR04
    |    |         Barytherium Andrews 1901 [Barytheriidae] H78
    |    |           `--*B. grave Andrews 1901 H78 [=Bradytherium grave DRM86]
    |    |--Phosphatherium Gheerbrant, Sudre & Tassy 1996 RH14, D07
    |    |    `--P. escuilliei D07
    |    `--+--Numidotherium [Numidotheriidae] RH14
    |       |    `--N. koholense TS88
    |       `--Moeritherium Andrews 1901 RH14, CB78 [Moeritheriidae, Moeritherioidea]
    |            |--M. chehbeurameuri JB10
    |            |--M. lyonsi Andrews 1901 [incl. M. ancestrale Petronievics 1923, M. gracile Andrews 1902] CB78
    |            `--M. trigodon Andrews 1904 [incl. M. andrewsi Schlosser 1911] CB78
    `--+--Deinotheriidae TS88
       `--Elephantiformes [Palaeomastodontidae] SW06
            |--Palaeomastodon Andrews 1901 SW06, CM78
            |    `--*P. beadnelli Andrews 1901 (see below for synonymy) CM78
            `--+--Phiomia Andrews & Beadnell 1902 SW06, SKR04 [Phiomiidae]
               |    |--P. major Sanders, Kappelman & Rasmussen 2004 SKR04
               |    |--P. minor (Andrews 1904) S68
               |    |--P. serridens Andrews & Beadnell 1902 (see below for synonymy) CM78
               |    `--P. wintoni (Andrews 1905) S68
               `--Elephantimorpha SW06
                    |  i. s.: Notelephas Owen 1882 LA02
                    |           `--*N. australis Owen 1882 LA02
                    |--Hemimastodon crepusculi TS88
                    |--Eritreum Shoshani, Walter et al. 2006 SW06
                    |    `--*E. melakeghebrekristosi Shoshani, Walter et al. 2006 SW06
                    `--+--Elephantida SW06
                       `--Mammutidae [Mammutida, Mammutoidea] SW06
                            |--Eozygodon morotoensis SW06
                            |--Miomastodon TS88
                            |--Pliomastodon TS88
                            |--Zygolophodon Vacek 1877 SW06, CM78
                            |    |  i. s.: Z. aegyptensis SW06
                            |    |         Z. gobiensis SW06
                            |    |         Z. metachinjiensis SW06
                            |    |         Z. turicensis SW06
                            |    `--Z. (Zygolophodon) CM78
                            |         |--*Z. (Z.) tapiroides CM78
                            |         `--Z. (Z.) borsoni (Hays 1834) [=Mastodon borsoni] CM78
                            `--Mammut Blumenbach 1799 TS88, H07 [incl. Mastodon Cuvier 1806 CM78]
                                 |--M. americanum D07
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ andium C77
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ australis Owen 1844 LA02
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ chapmanii C77
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ humboldtii C77
                                 |--M. obscurus D07 [=Mastodon obscurus C77]
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ ohioticus C77
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ proavus C77
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ productus Cope 1874 C77
                                 |--‘Mastodon’ shepardii C77
                                 `--‘Mastodon’ tapiroides C77

*Palaeomastodon beadnelli Andrews 1901 [incl. P. barroisi Pontier 1907, P. intermedius Matsumoto 1922, P. minor Andrews 1904, P. minus Andrews 1905, P. parvus Andrews 1905, P. wintoni Andrews 1905] CM78

Phiomia serridens Andrews & Beadnell 1902 [=Palaeomastodon (Phiomia) serridens; incl. Ph. osborni Matsumoto 1924] CM78

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C77] Cope, E. D. 1877. Report upon the extinct Vertebrata obtained in New Mexico by parties of the expedition of 1874. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian 4 (2): i–iv, 1–370.

[CB78] Coppens, Y., & M. Beden 1978. Moeritherioidea. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 333–335. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[CM78] Coppens, Y., V. J. Maglio, C. T. Madden & M. Beden. 1978. Proboscidea. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 336–367. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[DRM86] Domning, D. P., C. E. Ray & M. C. McKenna. 1986. Two new Oligocene desmostylians and a discussion of tethytherian systematics. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 59: 1–56.

[H78] Harris, J. M. 1978. Deinotherioidea and Barytherioidea. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 315–332. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[H07] Hooker, J. J. 2007. Bipedal browsing adaptations of the unusual Late Eocene-earliest Oligocene tylopod Anoplotherium (Artiodactyla, Mammalia). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 151 (3): 609–659.

[JB10] Jaeger, J.-J., K. C. Beard, Y. Chaimanee, M. Salem, M. Benammi, O. Hlal, P. Coster, A. A. Bilal, P. Duringer, M. Schuster, X. Valentin, B. Marandat, L. Marivaux, E. M├ętais, O. Hammuda & M. Brunet. 2010. Late middle Eocene epoch of Libya yields earliest known radiation of African anthropoids. Nature 467: 1095–1098.

[LA02] Long, J., M. Archer, T. Flannery & S. Hand. 2002. Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. University of New South Wales Press: Sydney.

[RH14] Rose, K. D., L. T. Holbrook, R. S. Rana, K. Kumar, K. E. Jones, H. E. Ahrens, P. Missiaen, A. Sahni & T. Smith. 2014. Early Eocene fossils suggest that the mammalian order Perissodactyla originated in India. Nature Communications 5: 5570.

[SKR04] Sanders, W. J., J. Kappelman & D. T. Rasmussen. 2004. New large-bodied mammals from the late Oligocene site of Chilga, Ethiopia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 49 (3): 365–392.

[SW06] Shoshani, J., R. C. Walter, M. Abraha, S. Berhe, P. Tassy, W. J. Sanders, G. H. Marchant, Y. Libsekal, T. Ghirmai & D. Zinner. 2006. A proboscidean from the late Oligocene of Eritrea, a “missing link” between early Elephantiformes and Elephantimorpha, and biogeographical implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103 (46): 17296–17301.

[S68] Simons, E. L. 1968. African Oligocene mammals: introduction, history of study, and faunal succession. Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, Bulletin 28: 1–21.

[TS88] Tassy, P., & J. Shoshani. 1988. The Tethytheria: elephants and their relatives. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods vol. 2. Mammals pp. 283–315. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

Last updated: 9 February 2022.

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