Deinotherium

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[[Image:Deinotherium skull.jpg]]
[[Image:Deinotherium skull.jpg]]
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'''Deinotherium''' ("terrible beast") was a large relative of the modern elephant whose fossil record stretches from the middle Miocene to the early Pleistocene.
'''Deinotherium''' ("terrible beast") was a large relative of the modern elephant whose fossil record stretches from the middle Miocene to the early Pleistocene.
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==Paleoecology==
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The way ''Deinotherium'' used its curious tusks has been much debated. It may have rooted in soil for underground plant parts like roots and tubers, pulled down branches to snap them and reach leaves, or stripped soft bark from tree trunks. ''Deinotherium'' fossils have been uncovered at several of the African sites where remains of prehistoric [[hominid]]  relatives of modern [[Homo|human]]s have also been found.
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==Characteristics==
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The following description, from Sanders 2003, is for ''[[Deinotherium giganteum|D. giganteum]]'' but in general applies to the other two species as well
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Permanent tooth formula 0-0-2-3/1-0-2-3 ([[deciduous]] 0-0-3/1-0-3), with vertical cheek tooth replacement. Two sets of bilophodont and trilophodont teeth.  Molars and rear premolars tapiroid, vertical shearing teeth, and show that deinotheres became an independent evolutionary branch very early on; other premolars used for crushing. The [[skull|cranium]] is short, low, and flattened on the top (in contrast to more advanced elephants, which have a higher and more domed forehead; the implication may be that deinotheres were less intelligent than other elephants), with very large, elevated [[occipital condyle]]s. The nasal opening is retracted and large, indicating a large trunk. The [[rostrum]] is long and the rostral fossa broad. Mandibular symphyses (the lower jaw-bone) is very long and curved downward, which, with the backward curved tusks, is a distinguishing feature of the group; it possessed no upper tusks.
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''Deinotherium'' is distinguished from its predecessor ''Prodeinotherium'' by its much greater size, greater [[tooth|crown]] dimensions, and reduced development of posterior [[cingulum|cingula]] ornamentation in the second and third [[molar]].
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==Species==
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* ''[[Deinotherium giganteum|D. giganteum]]'' Kaup 1829 [incl. ''D. gigantissimum'', ''D. levius'']
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* ''[[Deinotherium bozasi|D. bozasi]]'' Arambourg 1934 (see below for synonymy)
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* ''[[Deinotherium indicum|D. indicum]]'' Falconer 1845
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==Credits==
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Includes Wikipedia content - I wrote some of this 5 to 8 July 2005 [[User:M alan kazlev|M alan kazlev]] 04:32, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Revision as of 04:32, 3 January 2010

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